Wreck-It Ralph Review: A Fun Little Homage For the New Generation

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Wreck-It Ralph is a film that would not have seen the light of day a decade ago. That alone is something to celebrate.

The opening scenes of Disney’s latest foray into animation echo Pixar’s Toy Story. We enter a world where video game characters from every genre come together and live in secret, preparing for their next customers. A world where the orange ghost from Pac-Man leads a support group for video game villains. A world where Bowser and Ryu drink at the same pub.

But if you don’t know the two names I just dropped, you won’t get all the in-jokes that Wreck-It Ralph wants to land. That is because this is a film for the gamers. To them the sight of Q*bert is as significant as Gertrude Stein in Midnight in Paris. This limits the audience for the film a bit, but let me tell you, as a gamer and proud member of Generation Y, this film was a great trip through a world hardly explored on the big screen.

Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, doesn’t want to be a villain anymore. So he leaves, making the game he wrecks useless. His quest is your typical “hero’s journey” but going from versions of Donkey Kong, to Call of Duty, then to Mario Kart makes the journey unique and a lot of fun.

The other characters are strong too. 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer is perfect as the hero to Ralph’s villain. Jane Lynch is perfectly hard-boiled in the hardcore first person shooter. Sarah Silverman voices a racer in the fictional racing game targeted at girls Sugar Rush.

Sadly the film slows down a lot when Ralph spends way too much time in Sugar Rush. It would have been nice to see more game genres explored but instead we slow down here for an exposition heavy half hour. Ultimately, it proves important to the plot though, so it is a mistake that can be mostly forgiven.

Wreck-It Ralph is a film about finding your place in the world, a lesson beaten to death yet somehow reinvigorated by the video game settings and a whole lot of heart. Whether you remember spending every last quarter to get the high score on Pac-Man or sit in front of your Xbox 360 shouting into a headset during online games of Halo, this is a film every gamer will cherish and pass down to their children, therefore keeping the game alive. Grade: B+


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