Title: Wreck-It Ralph

Director: Rich Moore

Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Adam Carolla, Alan Tudyk, Mindy Kaling, Joe Lo Truglio, Ed O’Neill, and Dennis Haysbert

The video game fan’s plea for a good video game movie has fallen on deaf ears for almost 20 years since the release of the horrendous “Super Mario Bros.” in 1993. There’s something strange about adapting a video game to the big screen that gets lost in translation. Most of the time story is sacrificed for pleasing fans. That approach will always be considered dubious to the general moviegoing public. Well, video game fans rejoice! “Wreck-It Ralph” is one of the first great video game movies.

Now, “Wreck-It Ralph” is not based on a video game in the traditional sense. But while the film features many characters from video games including Q-Bert, Pac-Man, Sonic The Hedgehog, and King Koopa from Super Mario Bros., it “plays out” more like a video game than traditional video game movies such as Resident Evil, Doom, or Final Fantasy. “Wreck-It Ralph” remembers the first and most important rule about video games; let the player enjoy the experience. Its world is vast and deep as it intersects and melds cinema with video games.

The story follows Ralph (John C. Reilly), the bad guy from the fictional video game “Fix-It Felix.” After 30 years “on the job,” Ralph is tired of being the bad guy and wants to get the rewards of the good guy. Although the movie promotes the idea of a necessary evil in the world to functionally work, it emphasizes the importance of acceptance and understanding, which is more important to have with a realistic worldview.

Ralph tries to be good, but ultimately has to be bad to save the world from destruction. He goes out of his way to be the hero but takes shortcuts to accomplish this goal. But it’s only when he’s selfless in his actions by wanting to save the film’s heroine Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), Ralph restores balance to the arcade and the characters who are considered good guys start to understand and accept him for who he is.

The film jumps from video game world to video game world effortlessly as it dazzles audiences with its lush animation and keen voice acting. “Wreck-It Ralph” introduces many sub-plots and narratives, and at moments feels as if the entire story will falter because of them, but manages to come together at the right time paying off every element introduced. “Wreck-It Ralph” is a smart film for introducing story elements piecemeal but then opening up its narrative so it doesn’t give short shrift to them.

The film also uses the ideas of bonus levels, hidden mini-games, and lost levels as a way to give its characters a sense of ambition and the audience a sense of trial and error as a way to understand the world and the characters of “Wreck-It Ralph.” Not too many so-called video game movies consider the use of hidden rewards and levels as a way to build anything substantive but “Wreck-It Ralph” does it with ease.

John C. Reilly as Wreck-It Ralph is sympathetic and has a certain pathos to him that is earned as the narrative unfolds. Sarah Silverman as Vanellope von Schweetz is charming, childlike and sweet as her candy-coated video game “Sugar Rush” would suggest. Usually celebrity voice acting can be a double-edge sword when the method is considering only the adult members of the audience more than servicing the story but in “Wreck-It Ralph” it works. We are treated to familiar voices to orient us in this strange alien world while never alienating what makes this world so special, its characters.

For what it’s worth, “Wreck-It Ralph” serves as a trip down memory lane with its pop culture references and its dose of nostalgia but also serves a new generation of gamers and audiences with its introduction of well-rounded and loveable characters.

The film opens with a brilliant animated short film titled “Paperman,” which is something worth showing up to the theater early for. The short is free of words but full of emotion, comedy, and movement while staying firmly on the cutting edge of animation technology. It’s a good pairing with the main feature, as both films will give children and parents a sense of awe, wonderment, and common ground to relate to each other as it reminds us that it’s more important to understand and accept each other rather than change who we are as people.

Technical: A-

Story: B+

Acting: B+

Overall: B+

by @Rudie_Obias

Wreck-It Ralph

By Rudie Obias

Lives in Brooklyn, New York. He's a freelance writer interested in cinema, pop culture, sex lifestyle, science fiction, and web culture. His work can be found at Mental Floss, Movie Pilot, UPROXX, ScreenRant, Battleship Pretension and of course Shockya.com.

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