Worthwhile video game adaptations are extremely rare to find. While the fans of the specific title are sure to be in attendance, audiences are known to walk out disappointed with the finished product. Disney's Wreck-It Ralph takes place in the world of gaming, but develops its own plot with characters created exclusively for the film, although there are a bunch of familiar faces. Video game fans are sure to enjoy the assortment of cameos that appear throughout the running time, but this film offers so much more than just references to audiences of all ages and both genders.
Ralph (John C. Reilly) is a video game villain who is outcasted by the other characters around the arcade. He dreams of being in the position of Felix (Jack McBrayer), who is the hero of his game. Ralph goes on a quest to earn a hero's medal to prove that he can do it. He sneaks into a first-person shooter video game, which is where he encounters a tough gun-wielding woman, called Calhoun (Jane Lynch). Ralph's journey to retrieve the medal ultimately puts the entire arcade in jeopardy, as he ends up in a racing game trying to fix what he broke with Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), who was alienated for being a glitch.
As soon as the film begins, there's so much creativity that you'll be fooled into thinking that this is by Pixar. The concept is strong and the execution is wonderful. During the first act, audiences are treated to a large amount of video game references and cameos that will even have older gamers getting giddy. After the initial excitement, the main plot becomes more prevalent, as Ralph enters the racing game, called "Sugar Rush." The story becomes about more than Ralph proving that he can be a "good guy", but about helping Vanellope, who wants nothing more than to be able to race. There's a large amount of parallelism occurring between the two characters throughout the film, which is used effectively. They encounter similar situations and are both treated as complete outcasts. This is a genuinely heart-warming piece of cinema that provides good messages that you'd expect from a Disney film, which include friendship, being yourself, and anti-bullying. Even though this aspect of the film is formulaic, there are some scenes that will tug a little bit on your heartstrings. Despite those predictable elements, the ending is a nice surprise. I wasn't able to guess the final moments of the film, which is a good change of pace for Disney.
Moviegoers have become familiar with the Pixar format of making animated movies not only for kids, but for adults, as well. Wreck-It Ralph is a pretty funny film that has some jokes for children, while the remainder of the humor is directed towards older audiences. Writers Jennifer Lee and Phil Johnston have crafted a great screenplay that will have you laughing, becoming invested in the characters, and engaged in the story. The pacing is so smooth that there isn't even a single dull moment from start to finish. It's so much fun that when the credits begin to roll, you'll be wishing to see how the story could continue! It has been a while since I have seen an animated film that has left me wanting to see more. Wreck-It Ralph could have easily become more about previously known video game characters, but Lee and Johnston have envisioned a brand-new world filled with so much fresh and rich material that could be explored much deeper. This well-written screenplay contains a lot of heart and a clear interest in its themes, which will make its viewers that much more engaged.
The visuals are just as beautiful as the script. The animation is bright, colorful, and detailed. There was a lot of thought and effort put into the smallest of characteristics. Even with this feature being created with CG, some of the more aged games are shown with their original 8-bit graphics when we're watching the events occur from the player's point-of-view. Once we're introduced to the characters inside of the arcade machines, they move very similarly to how they do in the original video games. Unfortunately, the same praise can't be given to the 3D. It's a useless addition that doesn't improve the viewing experience at all. Other than the poor use of the gimmick, the visuals are wonderful and a lot of nice touches have been put in to appeal to gamers.
Disney has certainly kicked it up a notch and created a marvelous film. There's so much to love about Wreck-It Ralph. The characters are wonderful and the script is well-written with solid humor. Gamers will be pleased to know that there are an abundance of great cameos and smart references spread throughout, but they never detract from the main plot or its characters. This is a fantastic animated film that will surely have a high replay value on DVD/Blu-ray. I'm sure there are a lot more subtle references that won't be caught during the first viewing. Wreck-It Ralph is a phenomenal feature that can be thoroughly enjoyed by audiences of all ages. This movie is an absolute blast and is the best animated film released so far this year. I loved it.