DM Haight

Very few films can capture the innocence and lovability of American animation like Disney can. With Wreck-It Ralph Disney takes it another step further. The video game film, for the longest time, has been a failed experiment. Time and time again we get a Tomb Raider, or Resident EvilDoom, Mortal Kombat, Max Payne, and we really don’t get any satisfaction from them. They give us the gore of the games, sometimes the adventure, rarely, however, do they give us the heart. These films fail to capture the essence of the game that made us want to play. They forget that they need to not only find the special effects, the actors, the composers, but also the film’s soul. Wreck-It Ralph has that soul. It makes you remember why video games were fun, takes you back to the arcade where you spent way too much money and maybe even way too much time, but it reminds you that that time was what made your childhood so unique. Wreck-it Ralph is a remembrance of the first generation that lived with video games as a serious part of their lives. The character designs, voice acting, and narrative are stellar in this multi-layered video game movie that happens to capture the real enjoyment of the games themselves.

The one aspect of the new mode of animation, the computer based style we have all hopefully noticed taking over the cinemas as of late, is different from the rest in Ralph. Besides the fact that we get to see our favorite classic video game characters come to life in the new style of animation, we get to watch them run around in their 8-bit motions. Bowser, Sonic, Pac-Man, and many others make appearances throughout the film, giving any fanboy/girl a reason to squeal with delight. But it’s the new forms of original characters that bring about in the viewer groan of aww. The cuteness factor of the film is through the roof, but in a good way. It’s partially because of the concept of the film, but the cuteness works well with characters like Vanellope von Schweetz, voiced by Sarah Silverman. She is the typical little girl out of an animated Disney film, could easily be fitted for a different wardrobe and tossed into Tangled, but with a twist—she’s a glitch in the system. It’s made clear, right off the bat, that there is something off about Vanellope. She popped in and out of screen, spontaneously appeared in places, and was an outcast in her own game. She has a style all her own in the film, set aside from the rest, wearing a teal-colored hoodie and stockings, with a brown skirt. Juxtaposed to Ralph, she is incredibly small and mousey. Literally the cutest thing in the film.

And Ralph is the hero, the one we actually least expect. He runs through the games, letting his own game come dangerously close to being turned off, which would result in him being lost in the circuitry forever. Nothing really makes him lovable. We understand his character—many of us are like him. He’s a big guy who looks scary and can’t get into a party to save his life. When he leaves his game we think he might just go out, get his trophy, and go back. Perhaps it would have made him momentarily happy, but by the end of the film, we watch as he realizes, with the help of the adorable Vanellope, that he can’t be happy by bullying himself into the hearts of others. He finds his own heart, and comes to an understanding about his role in his game, and even makes others see it as well. The side stories are great, too. Felix, voiced by Jack McBrayer, finds himself in a sticky situation with Sergeant Calhoun, the sexy, tough, mentally scarred commando of Hero’s Duty, voiced by Jane Lynch, and Vanellope’s story is fascinating, and a little surprising.

The voice work is fantastic, and not one role seems out of place. John C. Riley is perfect as Ralph, and continues to show his versatility as an actor. Jane Lynch is Jane Lynch. She is somehow perfect. Always. She manages to bring humor to serious situations, even when the only tool she has to do so are her words. Sarah Silverman does an outstanding job. She already has the range for voice acting, and she proves that she can go with the best of them here. Her comedic skills, while lacking her usual abrasiveness and shock value, stand strong in the bittersweet game of Sugar Rush. But by far the most outstanding performance of them all is Alan Tudyk (Tucker & Dale vs Evil, Firefly). He manages to capture that goofy, maniacal, sweet, disturbing voice of King Candy, which oddly recalls the voice stylings of Ed Wynn. It’s bound to make kids laugh, and turn heads for anyone who has seen his previous work. Tudyk stands out as the shining star in Wreck-it Ralph. The cast and story easily make it one of the best family films of the season. The animated works are spot on, and Disney still has that flair for computer animation, even without Pixar by their side. If families should see one film together this year, go see Wreck-it Ralph. You wont be disappointed.

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