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Review: Wreck-It Ralph

Nov. 2, 2012by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: For thirty years, Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly)has been one of the most popular video game villains in the arcade. Thing is- the sensitive Ralph is tired of being taken for granted by the game's hero- Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer) and yearns for the day he can be considered a hero in his own right. As so- Ralph goes turbo- quitting his own game, and wandering into the other- more dangerous, games in the arcade.

REVIEW: WRECK-IT RALPH was a film that alternately delighted me, and drove me absolutely bonkers. For the first forty minutes or so, I thought I was watching a truly great CG-animated film, which perfectly married the retro appeal of the video games many of us grew-up with, to a modern big-budget Disney movie that's wildly entertaining even if you never played a video game in your life. But- about half-way through, WRECK-IT RALPH settles into the old Disney formula and never bounces back, although even at it's worst, it's still pretty good.

Of course, most of the ads are playing up the retro video game vibe, and if you hit the arcades in the eighties, and played your share of Nintendo and Sega Genesis as a kid, you'll see many of your old favorites pop up. The premise of WRECK-IT RALPH involves the arcade being some kind of video game society, where characters from each game are free to wander from one game to another through a mainframe, although the catch is, if they get killed outside their game they die for real. Also- if they fail to show up for work, the arcade owners will assume the game is on the fritz, and you run the risk of being unplugged, leaving you homeless (as poor Q*bert finds out). Disney somehow got the rights to show many video game classics, ranging from SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, to the cast of STREET FIGHTER 2 (watch out for Ryu hitting the bottle hard at the resident bar- which, of course, is TAPPERS). The bad-a-non scene, featuring a sensitive Zagnief, Bowser from SUPER MARIO (Mario is MIA), and the ghost from PAC-MAN is probably an instant classic, and for a while I honestly thought I was watching the WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT of the gamer generation.

Too bad that once the actual plot kicks in, with Ralph spending a chunk of time in a CALL OF DUTY style game called Hero's Duty before high-tailing it to the girly race game Sugar-Rush, the film gets to be a little ho-hum. Eventually, Fix-It Felix has to go find Ralph, and he teams with the Hero's Duty heroine- Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) to find Ralph, who may have brought a game-devouring bug into Sugar-Rush.


From this point on, most of the film revolves around Ralph's relationship with that game's glitch, Vanellope, a bratty little girl voiced by an often grating Sarah Silverman, who wants to be a racer. This follows the Disney formula to a T, with the typical being yourself is what counts storyline, ditching the edgier humour of the first half. Still, even here WRECK-IT RALPH is pretty decent. O'Reilly's voicework, not to mention Jack McBrayer and the fabulous Jane Lynch are dead-on. Especially good is Alan Tudyk as the Sugar-Rush ruler, King Candy, played in a lisping- Charles Nelson Reilly-style that might annoy some, but that I found really funny.

Additionally, the CG-animation is terrific, jumping back and forth from the 8-bit land of WRECK-IT RALPH (right down to their jerky movements), to the slick HD graphics of Hero's Duty (Fix-It Felix even hits on Calhoun by admiring her HD display), and the candy-coated world of Sugar-Rush. Each game has it's own distinct style, and is complemented nicely by the terrific score by Henry Jackman.

So- while it's a letdown, mostly due to the fact that the first half sets the bar so damn high, WRECK-IT RALPH is still a far above-average piece of animated fun. It can't be denied that it falls short of classic status, but at times it comes pretty close, which is something that shouldn't be shrugged-off.

Extra Tidbit: A nifty little animated short, PAPER MAN, is attached to the movie.
Source: JoBlo.com

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+19
2:45AM on 10/24/2012
Why is this review so spoilery? I get that the film gets to be ho-hum, but really, why does practically the entire plot of the film have to be in the review? I am okay with the score and review otherwise, but there's too much detail of the actual plot in this review.
Why is this review so spoilery? I get that the film gets to be ho-hum, but really, why does practically the entire plot of the film have to be in the review? I am okay with the score and review otherwise, but there's too much detail of the actual plot in this review.
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4:53PM on 10/24/2012
It's far from being THAT spoilery (I've seen the movie), don't worry, there is lots of surprise left in the film...
It's far from being THAT spoilery (I've seen the movie), don't worry, there is lots of surprise left in the film...
1:10AM on 11/02/2012
unfortunately a lot of 'professional' reviewers feel the need to summarize the plot for 1/2 to 3/4 of the review. I'm not even talking about this one in specific but just most review in general, it's fucking retarded. People know what the fucking movie is about if they're reading the review, or at least they know as much as they want to. Give a couple sentences of a plot synopsis or something if you really feel the need, but reviews that just go through the plot really piss me off as well, so
unfortunately a lot of 'professional' reviewers feel the need to summarize the plot for 1/2 to 3/4 of the review. I'm not even talking about this one in specific but just most review in general, it's fucking retarded. People know what the fucking movie is about if they're reading the review, or at least they know as much as they want to. Give a couple sentences of a plot synopsis or something if you really feel the need, but reviews that just go through the plot really piss me off as well, so stupid.
+14
2:19AM on 10/24/2012

Don't mind the 7

I'm still gonna go see it, Disney stereotypes and all, because I've been way too hyped for this movie since it was first announced.

Also, "O'Reilly's voicework"? There's no O' in John C. Reilly.
I'm still gonna go see it, Disney stereotypes and all, because I've been way too hyped for this movie since it was first announced.

Also, "O'Reilly's voicework"? There's no O' in John C. Reilly.
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10:44PM on 10/24/2012
The only reason why I would want kids at this point is to see kids films like this one without being looked at weird (28 year old male) at the theater lol
The only reason why I would want kids at this point is to see kids films like this one without being looked at weird (28 year old male) at the theater lol
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+4
3:33AM on 10/24/2012

Kid wants to see it...

...and I ain't mad at her.
But I'd love a traditionally animated film from Disney one of these days.
...and I ain't mad at her.
But I'd love a traditionally animated film from Disney one of these days.
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4:22AM on 10/24/2012
Princess and the Frog came out in 2009. Winnie the Pooh was just last year.
Princess and the Frog came out in 2009. Winnie the Pooh was just last year.
1:50PM on 11/04/2012
Thought it was terrific. Easily the best animated film this year, and the opening short was simply beautiful. A wonderful time at the movies.
Thought it was terrific. Easily the best animated film this year, and the opening short was simply beautiful. A wonderful time at the movies.
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3:33PM on 10/24/2012
Excited to see it!
Excited to see it!
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3:40AM on 10/24/2012
i haven't seen the movie yet and even I know the Call of Duty/Halo game in this movie is called Hero's Duty, not Hero's Quest (as you keep calling it). Also, as others have stated, this is a pretty spoilery review for the movie, especially regarding Silverman's character.
i haven't seen the movie yet and even I know the Call of Duty/Halo game in this movie is called Hero's Duty, not Hero's Quest (as you keep calling it). Also, as others have stated, this is a pretty spoilery review for the movie, especially regarding Silverman's character.
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-16
7:22AM on 10/25/2012
Pretty big dissapointment. So much potential wasted. About 90% was just a generic "animation" comedy for kids. Aw well... Oh and just like with pretty much every "2D" "pre-Disney movie" I always think "When will we finally get a movie like that again?!"
Pretty big dissapointment. So much potential wasted. About 90% was just a generic "animation" comedy for kids. Aw well... Oh and just like with pretty much every "2D" "pre-Disney movie" I always think "When will we finally get a movie like that again?!"
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-29
1:11AM on 10/24/2012
Sounds like a rental to me.... Shame, Pixar would have worked wonders on this.
Sounds like a rental to me.... Shame, Pixar would have worked wonders on this.
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10:59AM on 10/24/2012
Just because you think Pixar should have done this, doesn't necessarily mean it would have been better. Although I love Pixar's work (for the most part excluding the Cars franchise), it is refreshing to see companies like Disney, DreamWorks Animation, and Sony Animation evolve for the better in their story telling and overall 3D animation. When these other companies always live in Pixar's shadow, they have no where to go but up. They will continue to get better, and get closer to Pixar status.
Just because you think Pixar should have done this, doesn't necessarily mean it would have been better. Although I love Pixar's work (for the most part excluding the Cars franchise), it is refreshing to see companies like Disney, DreamWorks Animation, and Sony Animation evolve for the better in their story telling and overall 3D animation. When these other companies always live in Pixar's shadow, they have no where to go but up. They will continue to get better, and get closer to Pixar status. Eventually one of these companies might even surpass Pixar. You shouldn't count films out just because they aren't "Pixar".
1:16AM on 11/02/2012
What you seem to be forgetting is that John Lassiter is the CCO of Disney animation and oversees the development for all Disney animated projects. Therefore, he contributes in the same way he does for Pixar, which essentially means Disney and Pixar projects are run by the same person. I suspect Pixar would have done it in a similar way. It's worth noting that the quality of Disney animation has been steady since Lassiter took over.
What you seem to be forgetting is that John Lassiter is the CCO of Disney animation and oversees the development for all Disney animated projects. Therefore, he contributes in the same way he does for Pixar, which essentially means Disney and Pixar projects are run by the same person. I suspect Pixar would have done it in a similar way. It's worth noting that the quality of Disney animation has been steady since Lassiter took over.
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