Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Article 5586 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Rich Moore
Featuring the voices of John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch
What it is: Animated comedy
A massive video-game villain, hurting for the lack of acclaim he’s gotten for the role he played in a successful video game, vows to win a medal in the hopes of getting the respect of his fellow video-game characters. Unfortunately, this requires him to invade other video games and runs the risk of causing his own game to be shut down.
My experience with animated features during the last few decades has been almost exclusively with the mostly excellent entries from Pixar, but this one (from Disney’s other animation arm) attracted my attention due to its subject matter; I spent my early adult years during the video arcade craze, and this one hit a key of nostalgia in me, especially with the inclusion of several classic era video game characters (including Q*Bert, a personal favorite). No, it doesn’t live up to the best of the Pixar features (though it sometimes comes across as Pixar Lite), but overall I found it quite enjoyable. The first half-hour is only so-so, but once the action switches to the shenanigans in a hilariously cutesy video racing game called SUGAR RUSH, it starts working very well. In some ways, the movie can be compared with Pixar’s INSIDE OUT, though this movie lacks the emotional depth of that one. Outside of the references to other video games, the movie references a few other movies, including ALIENS and THE WIZARD OF OZ; the march of the witch’s guards from that movie is parodied to good effect. Still, one overall impression the movie left me with is that their is a group of basic plot mechanisms that are constantly being recycled in some of these animated films; though it didn’t really hurt my enjoyment of this one, I can see a time where this type of movie can start being very predictable.