Retro is Cool in Wreck-It Ralph

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“Old school”, “retro” and “vintage” are words that seem to be trending frequently these days. Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph is about an old arcade game, like the ones I grew up playing in the 80s. Watching the film was a bit of a nostalgic treat, as I remembered spending hours on end in arcades playing Pac-Man, Q*bert, Donkey Kong, Frogger and more.

Wreck-It Ralph, a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping adventure from Disney, stars Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) the token trouble maker in his video game. Ralph’s job is to climb up and down the apartment building in Niceland and wreck things for Felix to fix. Of course, no one likes the bad guy and everyone in town loves their hero, Fix-It Felix, Jr.  (voice of Jack McBrayer).

After over thirty years, Ralph is tired of being the bad guy and watching Fix-It Felix, Jr., get all the credit for saving the day! When their work is done at the end of the day, the real fun begins as the games characters spend their down time together. Game characters are also free to roam, when the arcade closes. Characters travel to Game Central through the power source that connects their machines. Ralph is a regular at Bad Guys Anon, where he shares his real feelings with others about being the villain.

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One day after work Ralph runs into a soldier from Hero’s Duty at the local bar “Tappers”, who tells Ralph about the medal in his game. Looking to prove he can be a hero too, Ralph steals the soldiers uniform and abandons his game as he searches for his chance to shine. When the town learns Ralph has gone “turbo” and they’re scheduled to be “unplugged”, Felix takes off to see if he can fix the situation.

In his quest to get his own medal, Ralph unleashes a digital bug from Hero’s Duty that can destroy Sugar Rush and the other arcade games. Felix joins forces with tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty to rescue Ralph. When Ralph meets Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), the two outcasts become friends and eventually learn they have a lot in common.

The animation and attention to detail in the video games was brilliant. Fix-it Felix, Jr.’s design and graphics will remind you of Donkey Kong, while Hero’s Duty looks a lot like Halo.

wreck it ralph review

Sugar Rush hits the sweet spot with a similar design to Mario Kart and may just trigger your sweet tooth! Imagine Candyland and Mario Kart had a child and the result would be Sugar Rush! If there was ever a video game you could jump into and play, kids would be over the moon to speed around those tracks.

Wreck-It Ralph will have you cheering for the bad guy and that’s not a bad thing! I’ve been eagerly awaiting this movie since learning about it last summer. My excitement centered around the retro look and feel of the film. All of my expectations were surpassed with a plot that speaks to an audience full of kids and adults.

The jokes were funny and on target, the plot was engaging and entertainment was top notch. Reilly, Silverman, Lynch and Brayer do a perfect job of bringing their character to life! From the nostalgic arcade sounds, appearances by some classic favorites Q*Bert, Pac-Man, Ryu, and Sonic the Hedgehog, and a first class voice cast, Disney should hold the top score for this film!

My four year old has been attending screenings with me for the past year and we’ve seen numerous children’s movies together in the theater and at home. Without planning to, it seems I may be raising a future film critic. When Wreck-It Ralph ended and the credits rolled, my daughter jumped up and declared “that was a good movie!” She’s absolutely right, this was the best animated movie we’ve seen this year!

Wreck-It Ralph opens in wrecktacular 3D in theaters everywhere on November 2.

I attended an advanced screening of the film courtesy of Disney, all opinions are my own and no compensation was received.

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