Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph opens this Friday, November 2, 2012. Adventures by Daddy correspondent George Gensler was able to attend an early screening of the film. Continue reading for George’s Wreck-It Ralph review. For all the trailers, images, and press materials for Wreck-It Ralph, click here.
Full disclosure: I hate spoilers in reviews, so there won’t be any in this one.
The bonus short feature for Wreck-it Ralph is Paperman, which I saw in full at a special screening of “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.” My review of the short is here, but I will say that the Wreck-it Ralph audience thoroughly enjoyed it, judging by the laughter.
Wreck-it Ralph opens with a 30-year flashback through the history of a video-game arcade, and I wish I could have stopped the film at every frame to catch all of the video-game references. That feeling continued throughout the film, because this film is full of them. I know it’s not yet out in theaters, but I can’t wait to buy the DVD, so I can try. Our video game in this film is “Fix It Felix, Jr.,” and our “hero,” Wreck-it Ralph, is the game’s hero’s foil. I don’t think it’s giving too much away to say that Ralph wrecks things and Felix fixes them. Ralph is unhappy, though, with being cast in the villain’s role. What sets him on his quest to earn a hero’s medal, is learning he’s been left out of his game’s 30th anniversary celebration (a nod, perhaps, to Epcot’s 30th anniversary, celebrated just a month before this film will open) and that the omission was deliberate. He “goes turbo” and the real fun of the film begins.
In his quest to be earn a hero’s welcome back to his own game, Ralph travels through two other games: Hero’s Duty and Sugar Rush, both of which, along with Fix it Felix, Jr., can be played either online on the Wreck-It Ralph Official Movie site, via download on Apple gadgets, or in the Disney Parks, themselves, where you can also meet Ralph and Vanellope, in an arcade-like meet-and-greet.
Ralph’s (mis)adventures through the games are filled with puns (keep an ear out for the Oreo® reference), sight gags and “Easter eggs.” It’s a visual feast and I’ll be poring over the DVD for these, too. Visually, it’s rich in color and, as we’ve come to expect from Disney, detail-oriented (though I did find at least one continuity error – let me know in the comments if you find any). The cleverness and the creativity in this film is top-notch, from the backdrops to the motion of the characters (which matches their type of game.) Another favorite reference of mine is the names of King Candy’s guards. You might have to have a good working knowledge of Southern California to get that one, so leave a comment, if you want me to explain.
There’s a second story-line running through the film, which involves Felix (yes, that Felix) and Sergeant Calhoun (the main hero from Hero’s Duty). Felix is on a quest to find Ralph and Sergeant Calhoun takes command of the rescue mission. Their story line is very different, but as full of fun references as the rest of the film.
The prevailing theme in this film is acceptance. Ralph is an outsider in his world, even though he excels at his appointed task. He tries to change who he is, because those around him revile him precisely because he is so good at what he does. Until he’s not there to complete his work, they don’t recognize just how crucial he is to their own success. Vanellope, Sugar Rush’s “heroic villain” (or is she a hero that’s not all good?) is in the same position as Ralph, and is fighting her own way to acceptance in her game. She faces a less subtle type of bullying than Ralph does and, when Ralph witnesses a particularly vicious attack, their stories unite. Ralph’s real quest is to help him accept that his job is to wreck things and he needs to be the best wrecker he can be. We can’t all be heroes, but it’s important, too, for the heroes to recognize that without the “wreckers” there are no heroes.
This film is charming, not just the characters, but the story and the visuals, as well. I had been looking forward to seeing it and was not disappointed at all. The attention to detail was up to the Disney standard, from the inclusion of real video-game characters to the revelation of the video-game world after hours. There may be some scary moments, but I believe this is a film for all ages. From the brightly-colored characters and sets, so to speak, to the video-game references (which will definitely appeal to viewers of a certain age), there is a lot to see and enjoy here. I’m already planning to see it again in the theater when it opens and will be adding it to my Disney DVD library, as well!
If you’ve seen Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, what do you think? Do you agree with our review? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. For more family movie news, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.