Genre: CG Animation
Director: Rich Moore
Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Brandon T. Jackson, Stefanie Scott, Scott Menville, Jack Angel
RunTime: 1 hr 48 mins
Released By: Walt Disney Motion Pictures
Official Website: http://disney.go.com/wreck-it-ralph/
Opening Day: 20 December 2012
Synopsis: Wreck-It Ralph (voice of Reilly) longs to be as beloved as his game’s perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (voice of McBrayer). Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy. But they do love heroes… so when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-asnails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Lynch), Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan— win a medal—but soon wrecks everything, and accidently unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Ralph’s only hope? Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Silverman), a young troublemaking “glitch” from a candy-coated cart racing game who might just be the one to teach Ralph what it means to be a Good Guy. But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before it’s “Game Over” for the entire arcade?
This reviewer had his fair share of fun in his younger days, hanging out at arcade centers, thinking it was hip to tap furiously on buttons to kill video game villains. Then there was what he termed as “home entertainment” – video consoles which you could gleefully set up in the comfort of your living room before setting on a quest to eliminate pesky baddies before facing “The Boss”. Ah, such nostalgia. It is with such sentiments that this reviewer has been anticipating this latest production from The House of Mouse since the first teaser trailer was released.
And this 108-minute animated feature does not disappoint. In fact, it is easily one of the top 10 movies, in this reviewer’s humble opinion.
The titular character is an arcade game villain who decides to rebel against his role and sets out on a quest to become a hero. He travels between games in the arcade, and ultimately must eliminate a serious threat that could close the entire arcade down, something which he may have inadvertently started.
Sounds like your average “underdog yearning to be recognised before saving the day” tale? Essentially, it is (honestly, which movie screenplay surprises you nowadays with originality these days?) – but what works in this case is Disney’s very smart move of infusing nostalgia and entertainment into a briskly colourful adventure that will engage the whole family from start to finish. And most importantly, there are affecting moments where both kids and adults can identify with.
Without giving too many spoilers (you would already know which characters to expect if you had been closely following the materials that Disney has released online), there are countless delightfully joyful moments when you smile to yourself at how smart the filmmakers are. Whether it’s the 8 bit arcade game characters of “Fix It Felix Jr.” (kudos to the animation team who kept to the jiggery movements after the characters step out of their “on screen” mode), the hypnotically adrenaline scuttles in the racing game world of “Sugar Rush” (a genre which proved to be popular amongst girls in the 90s), or the state of the art military machinery in the Michael Bay inspired “Hero’s Duty” (the villainous bugs are frightfully real), there is never a dull moment in this movie.
Clever references to your favourite childhood snacks are also evident in this Rich Moore directed animation. Watch out for Willy Wonka’s Laffy Taffy candies, Oreo cookies, Mentos and that comfort drink known as Nesquik. Smartly weaved into the screenplay by Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee, these again are moments which are spot on in the nostalgic department. Henry Jackman’s score for the movie brings together wistfully familiar midi music, saccharinely sweet poppish tunes and bombastic action cues to reflect the different worlds depicted in the movie.
The voice cast must have had a blast being part of this production. John C. Reilly makes you emphatise with Wreck It Ralph; Sarah Silverman channels her girlish energy into Vanellaope con Schweetx, a young racer with a glitch; Jack McBrayer is your everyday nice guy Fix It Felix Jr., while Jane Lynch makes sure you don’t fool around with Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun, a fearless military leader.
As the end credits roll, you’d want to go home to your storeroom to dig up that long forgotten video game console to revisit the good ol’ days.
(A clever animated delight with heart and soul)
Review by John Li