Our reviewer Gavin Miller takes a look at retro gaming film Wreck-It Ralph (PG).
If there’s one animation that has universal appeal – then this is it.
Disney finally shows it can provide a smashing computer-generated outing without the assistance of Pixar – as this colourfully nostalgic gaming theme ‘virtual-ly’ ticks all the boxes for both kids and adults alike.
Just seeing title character Ralph (John C Reilly) in a villain support meeting with Zangief and M Bison from Street Fighter II, Bowser from Super Mario Bros, Dr Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog, and the ghost monsters from Pac-Man, was more than enough to whet my retro appetite.
Throw in a story that pays more than a passing nod to the likes of Donkey Kong, Halo, Call of Duty and Mario Kart, then you have all the ingredients for a world you just can’t fail to fall in love with.
Wreck-it Ralph has been an unappreciated arcade coin-op bad guy all his life – falling to his doom in arcade game Fix-it Felix Jr for thirty years – and now pines for a life of heroism (and a coveted gaming medal) in new first-person shooter Hero’s Duty.
But as Ralph pursues his ticket for happiness, he unwittingly unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens to infect every game in the arcade, and then tries to make amends after befriending troublesome computer ‘glitch’ – and wannabe Karting star – Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) in a bid for redemption.
While the chemistry between the two characters is one of the movie’s most endearing qualities, comedic relief is also expertly cooked up with the supporting side dish duo of Felix (Jack McBrayer) and Jane Lynch’s (Glee) hard-nosed commander Calhoun, who are both trailing Ralph into the colourful gaming world of ‘Sugar Rush’ attempting to prevent an alien infestation.
It still falls a tad short of the Pixar greats in the ingenuity stakes throughout its generally ‘paint-by-numbers’ duration, but despite the generic ‘sugar-coated’ finale, this slice of child-hood history is undoubtedly a success story for all ages.
It also proves the legendary ‘House of Mouse’ studio can still stand on its own two feet, by striking gold with the start of an exciting new franchise which undoubtedly has many more levels to conquer.
One thing’s for sure – it’s definitely not ‘game over’ for Ralph and his legendary gaming pals.