Movie review: 'Wreck-It Ralph' plays a pretty good game
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You can't blame Ralph for feeling hurt and miffed that he wasn't invited to the 30th anniversary party of his arcade game.
True, Fix-It Felix Jr. is the hero of the game who can repair anything with a tap of his magic golden hammer. But he would have nothing to fix without "Wreck-It Ralph," who uses his sledgehammer fists and superstrength to destroy whatever he can in the video game within this Disney animated adventure.
2.5 stars = Average
- Starring: Voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch.
- Rating: PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence.
Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer) lives in a penthouse and is beloved by the Nicelanders who also are game mainstays but Ralph (John C. Reilly) is down in the dumps in a literal dump that doubles as his home. After three decades of being the bad guy -- like Jessica Rabbit, he is drawn that way -- Ralph has come to a momentous decision.
"I don't want to be the bad guy anymore," Ralph tells the Bad-Anon support group. Motto: One game at a time. Affirmation: "I am bad and that's good. ... there is no one I would rather be than me."
Ralph goes rogue, in an effort to win a medal and prove he's a worthy, good guy. He takes the risk of leaving the comfort of his machine (if a character dies outside his own game, he won't regenerate) and moves across multiple generations of games, encountering soldiers led by a no-nonsense sergeant (Jane Lynch) and Cy-Bugs and then a candy go-kart game, Sugar Rush.
That's where a fellow misfit, Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), resides, King Candy rules, the hills are alive with gum ball machines, the forests with candy canes and gumdrops, and Oreos function as palace guards much like the ones in "The Wizard of Oz."
Ralph and Vanellope confront questions about their fates even as Sugar Rush faces some not-so-sweet outsiders.
"Wreck-It Ralph" pays tribute to famous characters, games, voices and styles but while it should become more engrossing the deeper Ralph dives into arcade arcana, the younger some of it skews. That's thanks to Vanellope's juvenile jokes as when she tee-hees after pronouncing "Hero's Duty," the name of a modern shooter game, as "hero's doody."
"Wreck-It Ralph," in 3-D in select theaters and probably most appreciated by gamers (of which I'm not one), carries a positive message about what being a hero or a glitch really means but the movie's story and dialogue aren't as sophisticated as its design. Game over.
First Published November 2, 2012 12:00 am