Not to be confused with Pixar, Disney Animated Studios ‘WRECK-IT-RALPH’, arguably their biggest budget film yet, sees Ralph (John C. Reilly) wanting to move from the ‘Fix-It-Felix’ 8-bit computer game, to a new game where he can get a medal and become a hero, rather than the bad guy he currently plays. Along the way he meets a character voiced by Sarah Silverman and so the adventure begins.
Straight away this is a very well cultured and rooted film on its source material of computer games. From 8-bit to the contemporary titles, this film (even if some are fictional) make a appearance. With some well done cameos, and mentions to franchises including ‘Q-bert’, ‘Mortal Kombat’, ‘Street Fighter 2’, ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, ‘Super Mario’, ‘House of the Dead’ and (my most excited) ‘Metal Gear’, this is a film which has taken a great deal of detail to present this story to screen. What is rather wonderful about these references and cameos is that you can watch this without not getting them, but also the references themselves does not detract from what is happening in story. This was a conscious decision by Disney to do this, as when making deals with gaming firms back at a E3 event two years ago, they had been offered to use a lot more iconic characters to use then that was eventually shown on screen. The film also has a nostalgic tone to its fictional game creations as well. ‘Fix-It Felix’, is homage to ‘Rampage’, while ‘Sugar Rush Racing’ is very much ‘Mario Kart’ and ‘Hero’s Duty’ being that of ‘Halo’ (but a PG version). The whole idea of being unused (not wanting to be placed ‘Out of Order’), does add to the surprising dark tone the film has as well.
The films Narrative is fine, with some well wrote exposition for the younger audience to digest, it is a shame though the big hole in the script was with how much the film spends in the ‘Super Hill Racing’ section, rather that of (and strangely hitting home the narrative beats of ‘Toy Story’) ‘Game Central Hub’, which is far more an exciting place then the former, which is riddled with product placement. Also while the second half of the film spends more time in the racing section, you do start to see a more involving plot for the child audiences then that of the adult. Performance wise John C Reilly is great as ‘Ralph’, very lumbering and likeable, while the Sarah Silverman voiced child (Vanellope von Schweetz), isn’t as likeable as what the films thinks she is. I don’t think it helps that the character doesn’t really have anything that likeable about her, and has a less of convictional storyline behind her. Other then these downsides, the film is still a solid treat. Will it revolutionise the way we see Kids animated features? No, as eventually it will fall in the category with the other animated films people might forget about it. But for its running time, it is a labour of love, it looks beautiful (particular the glitching effects), and is a perfectly watchable family film.