Today! Because I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad –
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Directed by Rich Moore
Starring John C. Reilly (x5), Sarah Silverman (x2), Jane Lynch (x4), Jack McBrayer (x2), Alan Tudyk (x2), Joe Lo Truglio (x3), Mindy Kaling, Ed O’Neill (x2), Dennis Haysbert, Edie McClurg (x2), Rachael Harris, Adam Carolla, Horatio Sanz (x2), Maurice LaMarche, John DiMaggio (x2)
The shining example of a kid’s movie made for adults, Wreck-It Ralph includes loads of old video game characters and cameos, from Q*bert to Doctor Robotnik, voiced by a terrific group of comedians milking the arcade gags for all their worth. Even the central games of the story – Fix-It Felix Jr. and Sugar Rush – are thinly disguised versions of Rampage and Super Mario Kart. And being a kid who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, obsessed with Atari, Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Super Nintendo, this movie obviously was geared toward me and mine, not the Xbox children of today.
But while the first half hour does feel a tad gimmicky – these large scale Avengers style combinations of characters can’t help but suffer a little in design – it is still driven by a terrific little story, as Fix-It Felix Jr. villain Ralph is disgruntled with being the perennial bad guy and looks for a way to improve his standing with his game’s other characters. This leads his adventure through the arcade, winning a medal in the Halo-esque Hero’s Duty, and subsequently losing it in the candy-heavy racing game. There are plenty of fun twists and turns, but the emotional heart of the film separates it from other similar animated fare, as Ralph is tasked with helping Sugar Rush’s glitched racer Vanellope against the wishes of literally every character in her game.
John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman are terrific bringing Ralph and Vanellope to life, and manage to deliver solidly funny bits while their characters’ rocky relationship progresses. Plus, the B plot is no slouch either, and realistically could’ve made a decent movie all its own, as Jack McBrayer’s Felix attempts to find Ralph (their game being labeled Out of Order by his absence) with the help of Hero’s Duty star, Jane Lynch’s Calhoun, and their unlikely, whirlwind romance that ensues.
It’s a solidly fun and funny animated adventure, if not quite the emotionally transcendent experience of a modern Pixar film. But I’m also gonna admit – while I was way into a lot of the games featured in this movie, my video game days are pretty solidly behind me now. I think this was something we sort of wondered about when we were kids – because there really hadn’t been home video games before (shut up about your Pong!), we had no exposure to whether you would keep playing as you got older. I had a Playstation in college, and a PS2, and a Wii, and I’ve got an Xbox 360, but my playing has decreased more and more as the years go on, despite seeming to get a new system every few years. I think I want to play more than I ever find time to, and when I do I find I just don’t have the dexterity to be any good anymore. Have they made the Fix-It Felix Jr. game yet? They must have, right? That’s my speed, I could light that up. So what I’m saying is, while I think the setting is cool and funny, this feels like something out of my childhood more than something I could connect to now.
Wreck-It Ralph managed nominations for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars and Golden Globes, losing to the okay Brave on both counts, and no awards were handed out to obvious film MVP, Zangief from Street Fighter, voiced by the film’s director Rich Moore.
Bunch of new Two-Timers, what with the large comic cast, but we do have a handful advancing as well, including Joe Lo Truglio to the Threes (#377 I Love You, Man, #322 Role Models), Jane Lynch making it five actresses in the Fours (#372 Walk Hard, #201 The Fugitive, Role Models), and the great John C. Reilly completing a baker’s dozen in the Fives (#368 Anger Management, #290 Cedar Rapids, #217 Magnolia, Walk Hard). Spotlight!