Movie Review: “Wreck-It Ralph”- Video Game Reference

Written by Tommy November 07, 2012

 

I don’t get why everyone is praising the animation. It looked pretty primitive to me.

“Wreck-It Ralph” is just damn charming. The Disney animated film about a soul-searching video game villain is funny, intelligent, and surprisingly emotional at times. It stumbles pacing wise around the middle, and has a little trouble connecting the first and second acts, but overall it’s an endearing success that you should go see whether you’re a stupid baby or some loser adult who plays a lot of video games. Nerd.

It’s Really Pretty

First let me get the stuff I don’t care about out of the way. Yeah it’s in 3-D. Bluhhhh. Who cares. Not me. It’s not really noticeable and the best thing I can say about it is that it isn’t overly obnoxious (though I tend to have trouble noticing 3-D so your mileage may vary).  Also, I don’t actually know anything about animation, but I will say that it is obscenely detailed. There are more than a couple scenes I will have to watch a few times to catch all the little jokes and references Disney tucked into them. The characters are all visually distinct, and every time Ralph enters a different video game the tone and style of the art completely changes, while still keeping a kind of cohesive overall “look”. So yeah, visually it’s great.

Don’t recognize many of the people in here? Guess you’re not a hardcore gamer like me, HEH.

It’s Really Funny

Humor-wise the film accomplishes an amazing thing in being funny at all. Video game jokes are statistically the least funny kind of humor, yet “Wreck-It Ralph” consistently manages to turn out clever comedy while still referencing countless classic (and some downright obscure) parts of the dorky as heck video-game culture. I mean, I’m sure there’s one jerk out there who is gonna be all like “uhhh actually Sonic the Hedgehog would never do-” etc etc., but even though I’m a cool guy who lifts weights and talks to girls, I can assure you those complaints are totally without merit. Half way through the film though, there is an odd change in content. You’d expect the humor to be derived almost entirely from video-game nods and the like, but halfway through the film the focus kind of shifts and it becomes mostly candy and old junk food references. I guess it’s more accurate to describe the comedy in this as “depressing failed adult” humor. There are a couple jokes that are just simple lame “pun involving videogame/candy name” things, but they are few and far between and don’t at all detract from the experience.

It’s Really Cute.

The performances in “Wreck-It Ralph” shine so bright that they burned straight through my stupid 3-D glasses while I watched. John C. Reilly plays the lovable schlub Ralph to a T (or is it a tee? Who cares), and generates a pretty sizable emotional attachment by the end of the film. He has like, an actual arc, which is a stunning departure from the other films I’ve reviewed. Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) was the biggest surprise for me though. I don’t know a lot about Sarah and on the whole I find her pretty irritating, but danged if she wasn’t down right adorable here. I actually had to go check IMDB to make sure it was actually her. “Wow,” I said, already closing the window to go watch videos of skateboarding dogs, “she didn’t make me want to drive a screwdriver through my Tympaninc membrane at all!”

Pictured: A Cutie Patootie

It’s not all candy-cane rainbows and eye-charring acting though. Through the first half of the movie, “Wreck-It Ralph” suffers from a lack of a compelling literal goal for Ralph to achieve. He wants to stop being a villain, and be treated like a hero right? And he gets it into his head that winning a “medal” will get him the recognition he feels he deserves. He repeats this over and over, “GOTTA GET A MEDAL, WHERE’S THAT MEDAL” and it sounds less and less convincing every time. That’s not enough to carry a feature film, y’know? I think the film realizes this, and that’s why they add on the whole Vanellope storyline, so that Ralph has something more interesting to do. It doesn’t really gel so well right away though, and causes the middle portion of the movie to be a bit disjointed and drags down the pace a little bit. Still, by the films resolution the two story lines merge together pretty well, and it definitely sticks the landing.

“Wreck-It Ralph” is a solid, charming, and clever movie that may even get you all misty eyed (if you’re not me), Go see this movie.

My Rating: 8.5/10

 

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