- Released Internationally on 01/11/12
- Released in Malta by KRS on 20/02/13
Preview (first published 01/02/13 in VIDA Magazine)
Here’s one for the nostalgics. Wreck-It Ralph is the villain from an arcade video game, who gets tired of his repetitive, destructive life and breaks free. He travels through the colourful and crazy world of video game characters, trying to become a hero. The main vocal duties went to John C. Reilly (Magnolia, Step Brothers) who seems (and sounds) perfect for the role. The film’s concept allows for countless characters from the arcade games of the 90s to be brought back to life, and I suspect this animated Disney film will be as much a hit with parents as with their young children.
Before this film even starts, you’ll probably already be in a good mood. It’s preceded, like many of Pixar/Disney’s animated films of the past decade, by a short animated film. This time around it’s Paperman – a 7-minute-long, black and white (with a splash of red) whimsical love story, which is as wonderful as it is simple. We then delve into the world of video arcade games, where Street Fighter, Space Invaders and Pac-Man reign supreme, and which should bring back a lot of great memories, if you fondly remember the pre-Playstation days.
The concept is simple – all the characters in a video arcade ‘work’ during the arcade opening hours, trying to attract players to their game and giving a good show. After closing time, they all trudge off through the cables at the back, and are free to roam around, via ‘central station’ (the multiplug) until opening time next morning. Not all games get the same attention, and not everyone is happy with their role. Ralph, who is the bad guy is his game, yearns for a better life, and he sets off, against the rules, to try out a few heroic roles and earn himself a medal. This, of course, causes chaos in the arcade.
The film is warm and lovely from start to finish, despite a few action-packed interludes with the insect enemies from one particularly graphic video game. Ralph is brought wonderfully to life by John C. Reilly, and many other characters benefit similarly from great work by a number of actors who are mostly known from TV – 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer, Glee’s Jane Lynch, and especially Saturday Night Live’s Sarah Silverman. The latter helps create one of the cutest animated characters since Monsters Inc.’s Boo – a pint-sized, feisty, occasionally disgusting but overall adorable race car driver named Vanellope.
There’s endless eye candy, especially in the Willy Wonka-type world of the car racing game Sugar Rush. The grand finale is equally impressive, and of course everything turns out wonderfully for our heroes. This film knows exactly what it should aim for, both with children and adults. It even takes a moment to define the word ‘retro’ – old, but cool. Which is more or less why I enjoyed my time with these characters from start to exhilarating finish.