Disney CG animated tale set within the world of arcade video games. Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly), the villain of a Donkey Kong-like game, leave his pixelated world to find another where he can be the hero. In cinemas December 26*. Also playing in 3D.
*advance screenings this Friday
I would have been content with Disney’s cameo-chaotic animated feature had it simply provided a crack-like fix of nostalgia for retro gamers as well as demonstrating vibrant imagination that will instantly hook their children. While it holds both these qualities in spades, Wreck-It Ralph is an even more enriching experience than I had anticipated.
As the token ‘bad guy’ of a 30-year-old arcade game, Ralph longs for the same respect as his ‘good guy’ counterpart Felix. Believing that all he needs is a level-beating medal to earn that admiration, Ralph ‘game-hops’ to the dark, violent, Skrillex-y world of modern military shooter Hero’s Duty, only to end up in the candy-coated kart racer Sugar Rush.
This isn’t so much a good-vs-bad story; this is a story about the drive to achieve something more in the life you’re given and how ‘the hero’ isn’t defined by symbols or awards but by the actions he or she takes, regardless of recognition from others. The ensemble voice cast are on their A-game and the visuals are absorbing to any age, but Wreck-It Ralph’s ultimate triumph is the ability to tell its noble tale with a peppy grace and surprising amount of heart, weaving its plot threads through well-known staples of video game mythos (secret characters, game-ending glitches, unfinished levels still present in the code).
The humour occasionally falls flat and it’s a shame we explore only three arcade worlds. However, those are minor qualms against a film that not only gives iconic video game characters a proper celluloid celebration, but also creates its own iconic characters relatable to any generation, gamers or otherwise.