Rating: 4 stars
I recently had the occasion to spend an evening with our five-year-old grandson, and, after watching the last half of Finding Nemo on the TV, he wanted me to find another movie to watch. I looked through the programs coming up, and found that Wreck-It Ralph was about to start. I hadn’t seen it, and Will wanted to watch it, so we did. And I’m glad. This Disney animated film was funny and sweet, with great animation and endearing characters.
Without giving away too much for anyone who may not have seen the movie, the story centers on Ralph, the “bad guy” in the video game Fix-It Felix, Jr. Tired of being the one that no one likes and never the hero, Ralph decides to move outside his game and prove he can be a hero, too. He finds the alien action game, Hero’s Duty, and meets the hard-boiled female leader, Sergeant Calhoun, and manages to capture the medal he covets to prove he is a hero. However, he also accidentally unleashes one of the alien enemies into the worlds of the other games, which poses the potential for disaster. He also lands in the kart racing game, Sugar Rush, where he meets Vanelope, who is also an outcast in her game. The other characters in Sugar Rush think she is a glitch and will spoil the game. The master of the Sugar Rush land, King Candy, knows the truth and tries to keep Ralph and Vanelope from entering the races.
The entire story takes place within the world of the games in a single arcade. The characters are able to move between games during off times via a power grid called Game Central. The inner arcade world is well-built and believable, and leaves the way open for appearances by such arcade staples as Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Q-bert. The three individual games where most of the story takes place are each different, from the simple 8-bit look of Fix-It Felix, to the stark alien look of the first person shooter, Hero’s Duty, through the pastel, candy-coated Sugar Rush. The animations are good, but that is to be expected from Disney.
The story is relatively simple in theme- learning to accept yourself and be who you are, and, of course, the ending is a happy one. There is a lot of personal interaction among the characters, including an unlikely romance between Felix and Sergeant Calhoun. Ralph and Vanelope have a rocky friendship, and go through happy, angry, and sad moments. But they remain friends, and both learn what it means to be true to yourself, even if that is as the bad guy in a video game.
I enjoyed watching the movie. It was cute, and there were some things in it that an adult familiar with arcade games will find amusing. I’m glad I found it for us to watch.