Disney releases animated movies that are either created by Pixar or from their own Animation Department. Wreck It Ralph is from the latter and as such does not match the storytelling and visual splendor that Pixar seems to do without effort.
Wreck It Ralph is a solid effort that are technically well done, especially with the Sugar Rush sequences, but never elicits a Wow response. Part of this is due to aping the art of videogames from the 8 bit to the latest HD quality videos. Ralph is very strong in the 3D area too – for my money 3D really only works when the film is a totally digital construction. There is a great sense of depth and the film eschews any opportunities to use it to throw out any overt objects straight at the viewer.
From a story telling perspective Ralph lacks the nuanced layering of a Pixar flick and is dialed towards a lower range in the small fry spectrum as well. The strengths of the film lay in developing the lead character Ralph aided greatly by the voice work of character actor – John C. Reilly.
Ralph, a Donkey Kong human counterpart, is the lead villain in a 30 years old videogame and is tired of being the bad guy. Or rather he is tired of being perceived as nothing beyond the bad guy. So he becomes obsessed with finding a gold medal at the risk of losing himself.
Wreck It Ralph gives a Monsters Inc vibe in that it builds up a world that video game characters live and socialize in after the video parlour closes its doors each night. Linked through the power bars that each game plugs into; the video game characters intermingle and go to such things as Help Groups for Videogame Villains.
It is in these moments that adults that grew up and played, and are still playing, video games will have the most fun. Sight gags and dialogue references that span the history of video games run rife and without abandon. Some work better than others.
Where the story steers more to the younger audience members is when Ralph ends up in a candy land video game racer called Sugar Rush with candy named little girl characters race in cars made up of candy drops, icing, cookie wheels, and chocolate fenders. Here Ralph meets a glitzy little girl Vanellope von Schweetz who is treated in her videogame by the characters there much like Ralph is in his. She is voiced, a little too forcibly – a little too much sugar perhaps?, by stand up comedian – Sarah Marshall.
Visually the movie is the strongest in the Sugar Rush scenes with the various candies, gumdrops, licorice and more look good enough to eat.
Kids will enjoy the characters across the board and everything is wrapped up in a happy bow by movie’s end. Adults will enjoy the nods to video games plus the voice work of John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Ed O’Neill, Sarah Silverman, and many more.