In this day and age, who doesn’t like a wannabe hero? A guy who wants to save the day, get the girl, as well as adoring and grateful folks fawning at his feet instead of falling down a cliff and smattering into a million pieces. This is the conundrum posed in Disney’s latest film, Wreck-It Ralph.
Ralph (John C. Reilly), the bad guy in a retro arcade game, is sick of being the outcast when the good guy, Jim (Jack McBrayer) gets all the attention. Finally fed up of being pushed aside by his fellow characters, Ralph decides to abandon his game to win a medal in a high-def first person shooter, effectively ‘saving the day.’ However, in doing so, he inadvertently disrupts other video games in the arcade and with the risk of being ‘switched off’ looming, Ralph steps up to save the day for real.
Considering the standard of the animation at the moment – when filmmakers are striving for something creative and imaginative – it is great to see Disney actually bring something different to the drawing board besides adaptations of classic fairytales. Where Pixar has marvelled in originality, Disney seemed to have its work cut out in bringing a fresh story using old-school video games. Even though Wreck-It Ralph took over 20 years to come to life, the result is just pure unadulterated fun. It was hard not to geek out at seeing all the classics in this melee of video game characters – old and new; it brings that sense of nostalgia that rarely comes about in current films, especially when the modern hi-def meets the pixelated goodness of retro arcade games, making this Toy Story with video games.
Complimenting the imaginative script are the constant in-jokes, which are smart and hilarious, pun intended or otherwise. The story makes you want to cheer for Ralph throughout his quest and seeing him with cheeky cherub Vanellope (voiced by a very cute and mischievous-sounding Sarah Silverman) warms the soul. The rest of the cast are also great, especially Jane Lynch, who easily transfers her trademark style of snark and no-nonsense authority from Glee into her role as Hero’s Duty Sergeant Calhoun.
With the possibility of a sequel on the horizon, Disney are reaffirming that when it comes to animation: they don’t mess around. They certainly prove it with their latest feature, putting them solidly back onto the map.
Fun, sweet and joyous, Wreck-It Ralph is brilliant and not one to be missed.
For those who haven’t seen it yet – in case you missed its mid-week trending or you’re trying to stick it out for the film’s release – here is the lovely full length animated short, Paperman, which is shown before Wreck-It Ralph: