Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wreck-It Ralph

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweeting session of the movie I'm watching!  Or we can go Turbo and wreck it!

Wreck-It Ralph – 5 out of 5

Well...did you press it?  Obey the screen and press start!

  When I first saw the trailer to this movie—what? Really? I have to show you the trailer? Are you not capable of going to YouTube? Fine. I’ll go to YouTube for you and embed it here in my blog.


There you happy? Anyway, when I saw this trailer and since I’ve been a gamer since I was a little boy playing my Atari I knew I had to see this film. So I hit the theater and LOVED it! So, it was no surprise that when it came out on Blu-Ray that I would actually spend the money to own it and not just borrow it from Netflix.

"I'm gonna wreck it!"  Something I say to the toilet every morning when I wake up.

Wreck-It Ralph takes place in the video game world in a small arcade where Ralph (John C. Reilly), the villain in a little Rampage/Donkey Kong-style game called Fix-It Felix, Jr., is tired of being the bad guy and is jealous of his game’s hero; Felix (Jack McBrayer), always getting the credit and, more importantly, always getting the medal. Fed up, Ralph decides to jump into another game in the arcade, one called Hero’s Duty—a Halo-style shooter—that will allow him the opportunity to get a medal. After cheating his way to get the medal, Ralph accidentally unleashes a swarm of dangerous bugs in the game and is sent flying out of the game in an escape pod into a kart racer game; Sugar Rush. One of the bugs stowed away on the pod and it’s up to Hero Duty’s heroine; Calhoun (Jane Lynch) and Felix to find Ralph and stop the bugs and get him back to his own game or their cabinet will be removed from the arcade for being Out of Order.

The movie captured white people dancing perfectly.

Meanwhile in Sugar Rush, Ralph meets Vanellope (Sarah Silverman); a quirky little girl who is out to be apart of the big race in her game where, if victorious, could mean she will be an avatar for the players the next day. Ralph ends up helping Vanellope but it’s soon revealed by the head of the Sugar Rush game; the dastardly King Candy (Alan Tudyk), that Vanellope is a glitch and if she races she could ultimately bring doom to the game as her glitching will stop players from popping quarters into the game.

They were going to include the E.T. Atari game but...well, you know.

For a gamer, Wreck-It Ralph is about as epic as it gets—especially those who’ve played games their entire lives and have seen the industry advance to the mind-boggling era it is now in. There is no doubt in my mind that director/writer Rich Moore (who also directed numerous Futurama and The Simpsons episodes) and writer Phil Johnston are huge video game fans because the movie includes numerous cameos from video game characters (including the voice actors of the game icons) and gamer-laced gags litter in literally every second of the film. There’s even a freaking kill screen at the end of the credits.

If you don't know what a kill screen is I don't want to know you.

Zangief's manly chest hair received the most honor and

It was the fact that the video game aspects of the film were treated with respect and honor through-out the film that really made me love and enjoy this movie. This wasn’t just an excuse to cram in Pac-man, Sonic, Pong and other video games and set it within a generic cartoon story—nope, this movie was a loving tale that respected games to the point that the way certain characters moved, looked, talked and interacted showed the level of devotion that the filmmakers had towards gaming. Everything from the way the characters in Fix-It Felix, Jr. moved in their game to represent the lower graphic quality to the level designs put into the made-up games for the film to the hidden jokes references famous video games in the background (and in the foreground like the most famous video game cheat code of all time) and they all came together to make not only an animated movie that was fun but made for a great homage to the world of video games. Although I am surprised that with all the game references thrown around in the film that there wasn’t a reference to the ultimate gaming urban legend: Polybius. Then again, that damn thing could have been hidden in the arcade and I just didn’t catch it.

It could be hidden in there somewhere.

"Alright...I'm going to sneak up behind him, roll him
 up in a carpet and throw him off a bridge!"

And the story itself goes beyond just being a lovefest for video games but offers up a real emotional story that both kids and parents can enjoy—not to mention that fact the film covers years of video games and easily covers the generational gap of those who grew up on Pong and those who grew up with the Next Gens. The story of Ralph trying to be a good guy when he’s programmed to be a bad guy combined with his growing friendship with Vanellope really makes for a tear-jerker of an animated film. Of course, there’s some jokes and fun stuff in-between so the movie is not out to make you cry the entire time but the solid story of friendship and the moral of doing what’s right despite everyone telling you that you’re doing wrong is, on the surface, typical animation storytelling and something that is not unusual in the world of movies and stories but the story was told incredibly well and was able to find the perfect balance of heart-wrenching drama and gut-busting comedy.

But it's still a lovefest for video games.  Check out the graffiti; there's some great
gamer references there.

Even Skrillex makes a cameo!
Like most animated movies in this golden age of animated movies (seriously, with how well written they are now and with the amazing animation they are able to create it is no longer creepy for a lone man to go to the theater and see a animated movie), the animation is killer and the voice acting is almost too perfect. I already mentioned that many of the voice actors who lent their voices to the iconic video games characters (like Ryu and Ken from Street Fighter, Sonic from Sonic the Hedgehog and more but, sadly, no Mario) returned to reprise their roles but all the main characters in this film were filled by actors who seemed to be tailor-made in some sort of video game avatar creator for the movie.

Clyde and M. Bison...together the destruction they could unleashe would be

John C. Reilly is already an established actor who proves that there’s nothing he can’t do. He can be in silly comedies with Will Ferrell but can also do dramatic roles in the likes of We Need to Talk About Kevin. Reilly really embodied Ralph and really brought him to life and made him a sympathetic character. Once again proving that Reilly can do EVERYTHING!

For example, he can perform a Superman Punch that can knock out everyone in the
UFC all at the same time.

Even more tremendous was Sarah Silverman as Vanellope. I enjoy Silverman as a comedian but as an actress…not so much. She’s always being typecast as the sarcastic, snarky and downright bitch of a best friend to the leading lady who comes off like she hates everyone around her and isn’t remotely happy unless she is constantly being underhanded with those around her. Needless to say, she’s never the most endearing of character actors. However, she really ventured out of the zone I’ve only seen her in for the role of the little glitch and really made Vanellope a sweet (but still a little sarcastic) character that made the story of Vanellope and Ralph’s friendship, the resulting drama that occurred from it and Vanellope’s glitching ways really emotional.

Dammit, that's adorable.

Then there’s also Jack McBrayer as Felix and his soft, wholesome and kind voice fit th character perfectly. Not to mention Jane Lynch (a proven funny lady if there ever was one) as the rough and tough bug killer from Hero’s Duty; Calhoun. Not only did Lynch’s performance perfectly match the character but I strangely found myself attracted to the character. Yeah…I’m strange but come on, look at her…she’s hot.

Come on and look at her.  Tell me she's not hot.

King Candy; seen here about to passionately make-out
with a microphone.

Basically everyone who lent their voices to the film was perfect choices all around and this film had a large cast. Special mention has to be made to Alan Tudyk as King Candy—a character modeled as a tribute to famous comedian and voice actor; Ed Wynn—but the list of talent seems never ending as you have Mindy Kaling, Joe Lo Truglio, ex-President Dennis Haysbert, Jess Harnell, Bender Bending Rodriguez himself; John DiMaggio, Rachael Harris, former Man Show-er; Adam Corolla, Horatio Sanz, Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) stops by as the arcade owner; Mr. Litwak, Maurice LaMarche and so many more. Each and every person giving it all to make the reality of Ralph’s video game world, and the way they connect, a rich and realistic (and by realistic I mean for Ralph’s animated universe) feel.

Eh gads!  He's looking right at me!

"Ralph Smash!"
 Wreck-It Ralph is as good as it gets for animated movies. The story has just enough drama and plenty of comedy going for it. The animation is spectacular; especially when you take into consideration that the animators and crew had to somehow create a world that could accommodate with the reality of melding together various video game universes and characters that all have very different looks going for them but enough of a resemblance that they can work without sticking out like a sore thumb or a Republican who is for gun control, gay marriage and woman’s rights. The voice acting is beyond all expectations and, with all the video game references thrown in, the film’s fun level and re-playability is astronomical. Good thing it doesn’t cost a quarter to watch, eh? Okay, that was lame, sorry. But in all seriousness, Wreck-It Ralph is a movie that not only gamers will love but, I think, pretty much anyone can dig it.

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