February 9, 2013 by CINEfaction Movie Review.
Wreck It Ralph just might represent the most wholesome chapter in CG movie making. It’s a sweet, clever and constantly involving picture; Rich Moore has crafted a sublime exercise in nostalgia and fun.
Our ‘hero’ is Ralph; he’s the bad guy in a retro computer game called Fix It Felix Jr. Ralph has grown tired of his villainous status and longs for the acceptance and adoration of game players and characters alike. He pins his hopes on garnering a medal, to which he enters a variety of different game worlds in which to acquire one.
Let me just say that the animation here is breathtaking. The breadth of colour and depth of feel seem to get better and better with each CG adventure. One only has to take a look at the original Toy Story in relation to Wreck-it Ralph to get a feel for the advancements made in a relatively short time. The character design is also superbly judged and matched. The way the towns’ folk in ‘Fix-it Felix’ jitter and flicker for all of their faux 8-bit glory is a subtle touch and one of classy direction and a fully realised vision. It’s true that Wreck It Ralph never pretends to hold the weight or intensity of any of the Toy Story pictures but it has excitement and likeability in spades. Sequences such as Vallenope’s test drive will live long in the memory as they are peppered with plenty of clever ideas such as the diet cola spring, dangled above which are stalagmites of mentos ready to cause volcanic havoc when they fall. The movie is full of references; some of which will be obvious and some will fall flat to most viewers but it’s with this depth of field the film finds its feet. It’s not a movie where you have to have a prior working knowledge of retro gaming, it works just aswell without that. We are inundated with a plethora of ideas and visual treats in which to ponder and wonder at all of which give an added credence to the rich mise en scene. We aren’t dealing with a Tarantino obscurity-fest here, Ralph can be read just as successfully as simple and innocent fun.
The voice performances exemplary, particular props go to John C Reilly and Sarah Silverman who add a zip and playfulness to Ralph and Vellenope without sacrificing any pathos. It’s a tight screenplay; the movie feels light and lean. The three act structure is plain but doesn’t feel particularly over tasted. Its interesting to see a movie so loving depict and display its retrospective setting without ever poking fun or lambasting its inadequacies. The games here are seen as absolute and all encompassing; Moore hammers home the sense of finality when a game is closed down. We really get a strong sense of what’s at stake for the characters and it is interesting watching how we view video games being cleverly subverted. He the characters control the game not the people, the main landscape change of the picture is Ralph’s initial dissapearence from his own game. We watch as a little approaches to play the game only to find that the game is unplayable due to Ralph’s unauthorised absence. In this world the player no longer holds all of the control; the games are alive. Also, cleverly the film largely ignores the advances in gaming; to lesser filmmakers this would have constituted a large part of the movies plotting. It would’ve been too easy to see Ralph battling HD foes for the attentions of increasingly ADD kids in the arcade. Instead, we get an arc that actually matters; it’s a familiar sentiment but one that still rings true. Ralph is a movie about the acceptance of difference and of ones true self in spite of flaws we all share.
Sure there’s some muddled exposition near the movies ending and there are a few questions about some of devices used to get us to the final reel but the point is you don’t care. If you are watching Wreck It Ralph ruminating on the intricacies of its plotting you’re missing out on all of the fun. Wreck It Ralph manages to tread the uneasy line of being both a walk down memory lane and a breath of clean, fresh air.