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Gaming in Media: Wreck-It Ralph Review


Front

If any of you have kept up with Stay-At-Home Gaming, there are three things that should be abundantly clear by now; we love video games, celebratory bacon cheeseburgers are an awesome concept (and that I should probably cut back on them to appease my doctors) and movies based on video games are terrible. Hell, we even wrote an entire article about why they should never happen again. But how about a tribute to classic video games, not based on any particular one? Would that be horrible as well? That’s right, for the first time on the site, we’re reviewing a video game movie!

The challenger is Wreck-It Ralph, a delightful movie released Nov. 2, 2012 by Walt Disney Animation Studios. In the same vein of Pixar’s Toy Story and Monsters, Inc., Wreck-It Ralph, the titular character, finds himself in a wonderful fantasy setting that only exists when no human being is watching. Ralph has played the bad guy for thirty years in his game, destroying a high-rise apartment everyday and watching Fix-It Felix Jr., the game’s hero, win a medal and the game denizens’ praise and love while he sleeps in a literal dump. After a villain support group meeting (hilariously titled Bad-Anon), and an argument with the apartment tenants, Ralph resolves to win a medal and earn the respect of his game.

Texture

BadAnon

One of the best parts of the movie

The best thing about this movie is the meticulous detail Disney put into it. The majority of the movie takes place in three completely original “games”, namely Hero’s Duty, Sugar Rush and Fix-It Felix, but each of them takes just enough from other games to make it feel familiar; Ralph and Felix are a wonderful parallel to Donkey Kong and Mario. Classic and Modern video game characters like Zangief, Bowser and Q*bert bring an aspect of familiarity to the game. Certain video game staples like Mario and Sonic do feel out of place in an arcade setting, but these references are easily excusable or unnoticable in the interest of fun. Also of note is Game Central Station, the “train station” gateway which allows characters travel between games and lovely use of setting: it is basically a stylized power strip complete with grafitti (Aerith Lives was a favorite).

Tones

Cast

Better cast than The Departed… kind of…

Taking time to talk about the animation is pointless. Disney knows animation and does it better than anyone else. Even spills in Fix-It Felix have a wonderful blocky-sprite look to them. It’s the best there is. Voice acting, however, is usually the deal maker or breaker, and the voice acting is incredible. John C. Reilly is fantastic as always, and carries the movie well. Horatio Sanz and Adam Corolla are limited in their dialogue as two Sugar Rush cops, but the moments they have are great. Jane Lynch basically steals the show as Calhoun from Hero’s Duty, though she is a little limited by the script. The rest of the cast is par for the course for Disney (in other words, high quality), but three stand out as the most impressive: Sarah Silverman is delightful as Vanellope von Schweetz, a glitch in Sugar Rush and is equal parts hyper and adorable, with lines that don’t make her irritating to anyone but Ralph. King Candy is played by the lovable Alan Tudyk (if you haven’t seen Firefly, stop reading this. It’s on Netflix and we’ll be here when you get back), and he brings his lovable whimsical quality to an antagonist that you will love. Finally, Jack McBrayer is Fix-It Felix, a stereotypical (for the 80’s) hero that makes you laugh with every old-fashioned line of dialogue he perfectly delivers.

Imperfections

Hero's Duty

I don’t think Ralph is cut out for Hero’s Duty

The only downside in this film is that it takes a little too much time inside the Sugar Rush game. And even then, it entirely makes sense, there is enough variety so that it isn’t constantly the same view, and with cuts to events happening elsewhere you tend to think it only after a few full viewings. As an venerable gamer of twenty-five years, who has seen the fall of arcade gaming at the hands of console games, the video arcade setting is strangely nostalgic, though in the end it just makes me sad that this isn’t as relevent today as Toy Story is (kids still play with action figures and toys, right? Actually, don’t tell me, I’d probably just cry). Finally, the ending, although wrapping up everything nicely, still seems a little abrupt. I couldn’t tell you why, it’s just the feeling I have. No evidence to back this one up, except that I probably just wanted more than 101 minutes of it. And you will too.

Moment of Truth

Sugar Rush

Totally worth the trip

See this movie. Go to a store, rent it from Netflix, borrow it from a friend, but see this movie. Everytime I watch there is something new to discover, a detail I missed or just something comical about how a line was read that makes me love it more. I can’t believe I can say this now, but not all movies about video games are terrible, and this is the true exception to the rule.

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About RedGuinness

Andrew Shortall (RedGuinness) is the Writer, Editor, Administrator and founder of Stay-At-Home Gaming. He also suffers from sleepless nights, summer new release withdrawals and trying to behave himself in front of his new nephew.

3 comments on “Gaming in Media: Wreck-It Ralph Review

  1. CMrok93
    April 26, 2013

    Nice review. It’s not all really funny and cheery stuff, it’s pure emotion that Disney is known for, but fine for what it is.

    • RedGuinness
      April 26, 2013

      Definitely true about the emotion, though I do find that a lot of it was lighter than past Disney movies (candy bad guys, Bad Anon, etc). In my hopes to keep the review spoiler free I refrained from even mentioning such scenes. Next time we’ll include the appropriate heads up. Appreciate the catch!

  2. Stephen Wolling
    July 17, 2013

    I believe a sequel is already in the works. My only concern for this movie was the amount of time in sugar rush. I thought they could spend more time in a variety of other games. Aside from that, an excellent movie.

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This entry was posted on April 23, 2013 by in Gaming Fun, GIM and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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