Directed By: Rich Moore
Starring: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk
Written By: Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee
As much as I love movies, only one in my short time here on Earth has made me cry like a baby. Sure, I’ve teared up during the opening montage of Up or even been misty during Bambi. It’s Magnolia‘s famous sing along of Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up” that makes my emotions turn on the water works and openly cry in a theater.
Wreck-It Ralph can now lay claim as the second film to do this, and wipe away the tears and have me smiling like a six-year old one scene later.
That’s not the reason why this is Disney’s best film since The Lion King, but it certainly helps. Wreck-It Ralph‘s originality with the story, lovable characters, and perfect voice acting are all why this movie is leaps and bounds above any animated picture of recent years. Also important is that the jokes don’t feel cheap (outside of one, and even then it’s self-aware.)
John C. Reilly, who stars as the title character, insisted that the voice actors share all their voice sessions together. It’s a huge benefit to the film that he did, as these characters have a genuine interaction with each other that doesn’t necessarily come off well in other animated pictures. It eliminates anything feeling forced or contrived, with all the emotional beats hitting just the right notes.
With the cast they’ve assembled, it really should. John C. Reilly plays up the lovable schlub of Ralph perfectly, never feeling too goofy or annoying. Those two synonyms usually go together with Sarah Silverman, who thankfully is neither in her role as Vanellope Von Schweetz. Her relationship with Ralph becomes the anchor of the film, with Silverman and Reilly playing off each other lovingly. Jack MacBrayer was just born to play Fix-It Felix, Jr. (from the game, Fix-It Felix, Jr.,) being the ultimate do-gooder. Jane Lynch seems like an interesting choice for Sergeant Calhoun. While she’s flawless when it comes to the harder aspects of Calhoun, she really shines in the more softer moments on the character. Praise must also be given to Alan Tudyk as King Candy, who becomes something of a ghost in the role, providing a fun performance that brings out Tudyk’s best Ed Wynn impression.
All the performances are enhanced by the writing team, as they create fully realized characters and not just carbon copied archetypes. We’re interested in Ralph’s journey to be good, not because he wants to replace Felix, but because he just wants respect. The film avoids falling into any conventional traps, opting for more satisfying results. The filmmakers are also smart enough to not let the film become about it’s winks and fan service. Then again, any film that uses Tapper as a reference has to be smarter than you’d think it is.
Wreck-It Ralph has a true heart beating at it’s core, making the film one the more emotional roller coaster rides of the year. Rich Moore has created something special, and while Disney’s marketing department will no doubt love the success of the film, animation fans should be proud to know they no longer need to rely on just Pixar to produce quality animation films again. Animation films are often tough to leave a lasting impression on adults, but Wreck-It Ralph will have adults bouncing along with the film as much as their kids, both for similar and different reasons.
“When Can I See You Again?”
As soon as possible.