If you miss the 8-bit arcade games that made up the bulk of your childhood, it seems Walt Disney’s heard you and made an animated movie out of it.
Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the story of a villain by the same name who lives in a 30-year-old arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr. Much like his namesake, Ralph demolishes buildings for a living. The hero, on the other hand, is Fix-It Felix Jr. (voiced by Jack McBrayer), who then restores the building to its original state with his magical golden hammer. The game concludes when the 8-bit residents of the building award Felix with a golden medal in appreciation, and toss Ralph off the roof.
As we’ve seen in the Toy Story series, when the doors of the arcade close for the day, the video game characters come out to play. On one such occasion, the characters in Fix-It Felix Jr. decide to throw a 30th anniversary party, and use this as a platform to make Ralph feel more like an outcast. When Ralph shows up at the party, he finds the bad guy tag sticks and he’s chased away after he ruins the celebratory cake in a fit of anger. The characters then challenge him to earn a medal just to stay a part of the group.
To win his salvation, Ralph embarks on a quest for a medal in another first-person shooter arcade game, Hero’s Duty, where he poses as a soldier.
Hero’s Duty reminds us of the first-person shooter arcade game, Time Crisis by Namco, which was popular in the 90s. Ralph then meets female Sergeant Calhoun, a strict no-nonsense leader (voiced by Jane Lynch, who is best known for her equally irascible role as Sue Sylvester in Glee).
While doing so, he accidentally hatches a colony of Cy-Bug eggs, much to the fury of Sergeant Calhoun. While struggling with a Cy-Bug, Ralph launches out of Hero’s Duty in an escape pod and crashes into yet another game, this time a kart-racing one, Sugar Rush, much like the highly enjoyable Nintendo kart-racing game, Mario Kart.
Ralph meets a kaleidoscope of video game characters in his quest to obtain a medal, such as Venellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman, who first came into the limelight as a writer and performer for Saturday Night Live) and King Candy (voiced by Alan Tudyk, who starred as Hoban Washburne in television series Firefly).
The 108 minute-long film gravitates around Ralph wanting to shake off the labels of villainy in an attempt to prove himself as a good guy, after tiring of being outcast by his fellow colleagues.
The obstacle-ridden journey posed Ralph many difficult decisions, which led to commendable sacrifices, not unlike the ones we face in the real world. His good intentions then shine through the movie, making audiences come to the realisation that Ralph is only a villain by label of society; a reflection of the real world.
The movie’s greatest strength lies in its feel-good nostalgic callback of the good old video arcade game days that were highly popular in the 80s and 90s. The film brings back many famous childhood video game heroes and villians, such as Sonic and Doctor Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog, Bowser from Super Mario, Ken and Ryu from Street Fighter, as well as the ghostly villains in Pac-Man.
The soundtrack also features original songs by popular artistes such as dubstep deejay Skrillex, American electronica project Owl City and musical duo Buckner & Garcia. Skrillex even made a split-second guest appearance as an animated version of himself spinning wicked tunes in Fix-It Felix Jr.’s 30th anniversary celebration, with his trademark undercut and thick-rimmed glasses.
Wreck-It Ralph whirls the elements of witty puns and wordplays, blatant romance clichés and video game entertainment together into a sensational, captivating movie.
•Movie name: Wreck-It Ralph
•Release Date: 20 Dec 2012
•Runtime: 108 minutes
•Censorship Rating: PG
•Director: Rich Moore
•Main actors: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch