Warning: this review contains spoilers
Wreck it Ralph
I had been waiting for at least a year for this film and I am happy to report, it did not disappoint!
I am and always have been a gamer myself, starting from playing my dad's SNES and being "ill" from school because I had a case of wanting to play Zelda, I can't describe how happy I was to learn about this film.
Disney doesn't always understand what they are trying to cash in on, sometimes they see a popular subject trending and think about the money, even if they don't understand the subject. This makes you wonder if it would be possible for Disney to do any justice for a subject they don't know too much about from the products they have previously delivered. Only Kingdom Hearts was fairly successful and they didn't have that much to do with it.
However, Wreck-it Ralph was quite simply amazing in my opinion. It was like a love letter to gaming made by those who understand gamers, and what best references to use (John Lasseters role as Executive Producer I suspect had something to do with its excellence). There were some amazing references that not everyone would understand, such as the alert noise from Metal Gear Solid which had me and my assistant in stitches, there were also references to Pac-man, Bowser from Mario, Street fighter, Tekken, Q*Bert and of course Sonic. It made me quite nostalgic of my youth when I'd often be in the arcades on holiday rather than the beach!
It reminded me why I have a large collection of games myself, it's not the technological leaps or the marketing hype, it's what they can make us feel in a world not so different from our own (usually). We immerse ourselves in the world when we play, and feel the joy of victory, the stinging pain of loss, the laughter from one liners or even in some cases tears (for me none more so than Tell Tales the walking dead). I can say I felt them all in some manner throughout this film!
The world is not always a pretty or happy place, films and games take my mind away from the everyday of this world, and is really what gets me through at times. Things always seem a little better when you're somewhere else, the ability to do that can sometimes be quite difficult, to be able to make all those little things you need to do seem not so bad is quite a feat. That's what the arts do, they heal, distract and help make you see things in a different light. I do have to say though, I am probably in the films target demographic, which makes it difficult to judge outside of that. Although that said I don't think you have to be a huge video game fan to enjoy this film. Of course Disney know what they are doing when producing films, so the cinematography is naturally spot on however the story does at times follow that of a typical Disney film.
The animation is incredible as it always seems to be for Disney films. From the purposely stiff animation in Wreck-It Ralph's game, to the hyper realistic looking Hero's Duty, to the colourful Sugar Rush, Wreck-It Ralph is the most visually superb computer animated film of the year. A vast array of blink-and-then- you'll-miss-it sight gags that is practically begging for repeat viewings which I definitely recommend.
The score by Henry Jackman captures the feeling of the video game worlds amazingly well. Mixing electronic instruments and orchestra intelligently, Jackman provides an energetic score for Wreck-It Ralph. Even this memorable score provides many references adding to the brilliance of this film. The heavy use of electric guitar in the Hero's Duty world is more than appropriate if you have played the modern warfare series of Call of Duty, and the theme for the Sugar Rush races is joyfully nostalgic and sounds just like a tune you might listen to in Mario Kart.
One comment I heard when coming out of the cinema couldn't be more true "It's a film about video games, who wouldn't like that?" Which I have to say, was well said!
The movie centres on Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly), the villain in the "Fix-it Felix" arcade game, who decides to become a hero. Because he doesn't like being a bad guy, he "Gate Jumps" into some of the other video games in order to learn what it's like to become a good guy. The story kicks off in "Hero's Duty" where Ralph tries to get a medal to prove himself to the other characters in Fix It Felix. He also befriends a character known as Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman) from a candy-coated racing game called "Sugar Rush". When Ralph accidentally unleashes a threat in Hero's Duty, he tries his best to save the day and become a true hero.
John C. Reilly delivered a strong performance as the main character, who wants to make a change in his life, to be respected rather than feared as "the bad guy". Sarah Silverman provides most of the movie's funny moments as one of the "Sugar Rush" characters who Ralph befriends after a short confrontation, and is a "glitch" (an element of the game that is not meant to be present). She tries to get Ralph to help her to become a racer once again. Jack McBrayer (from 30 Rock) has an amusing supporting role as Fix-it Felix, the main hero in the "Fix-it Felix" arcade game, who sets out to find Ralph and get him back to where he belongs. Jane Lynch does a great job playing the main character in "Hero's Duty", who tries to find Ralph, alongside Felix and gives some comic relief with her one liners.
However, I was a little disappointed that they lingered for quite some time in one environment and at times I found the crude humour from Sarah's character repetitive, but it was clearly present for younger viewers. Also, be sure to get there in time for the short at the beginning called Paper Man. It reminded me of classic Disney animated shorts, that is charming and quite groundbreaking.
Overall I rate this film 5/5
Review by Liam Taylor
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