9 June 2013

Wreck-It Ralph - Film

Disney's 51st animated classic is the story of a video game villain trying to earn his place with the good guys. Ralph is sick of being treated like the bad guy. He's just got a job to do and he does it well; he's great at wrecking stuff, especially buildings. But Ralph has had enough, so he hitches a ride to Hero's Duty, the new first person shooter, in search of a medal to bring home. True to his name, he wrecks the place, and then escapes into Sugar Rush (a candy-coated racing game) to wreak more havoc.

As you would expect from any Disney movie, kids will love it. There are funny moments, and the introduction of Vanellope Von Schweetz gives a little bit more lightness to the weighty subject of what it means to be good. The video game idea is a good one, and the setting of an arcade means that the creators had a lot of scope for which character they could put in. This is the good part for adults, too. You can spot so many different game characters that your kids probably won't even know about. (Warning, this part gets geeky). You can see characters like Pac-man, Bowser (from Mario), Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr Eggman, a cyborg from Mortal Kombat (he even performs a fatality) and a few others from games like Streetfighter.

There are tons of other references too. Maybe the most obvious is the game Hero's Duty, the name and shooter style being taken from Call of Duty. King Candy, the monarch of Sugar Rush has the characteristics and voice style of the Mad Hatter from Disney's Alice in Wonderland. As with Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Disney decided to do an 8-bit scene at the beginning. This time it was the Steamboat Willie scene that got a makeover. 8-bits and pixels feature quite heavily in the beginning of the film where the main action was in the game Fix-It Felix Jr (that's Ralph's eponymous good guy). The character all moved jerkily and their surroundings were mostly squared off like pixels. These touches really brought some reality to the film.

The film could be seen as taking an idea from Toy Story, as the games seem to really come to life when the arcade closes. However, there are rules, and when they get broken, there are some serious consequences for the characters. But hey, this concept is so entertaining, who cares?

As for the voices, we've got a good few famous faces (the four main characters even look like their human counterparts, which is cool); John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Alan Tudyk all lend their voices to characters. Jane Lynch actually adds something really nice to her character. her lines are fast with lots of puns and amusing name-calling. She's a tough cookie with a sweet underside. Maybe she should race in Sugar Rush?

The verdict? I want to play Sugar Rush, and I want to see the film again soon. It was very funny in places and had a nice plot. There were even a couple of twists, which is pretty unexpected for a Disney film. Although not quite as funny as the Emperor's New Groove, and with none of the songs of Aladdin, it's a solid film and I'm glad I bought it. 8 out of 10.