Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

“It sure must be nice being the good guy.”

So it’s another day, and I’ve got another animated movie to review. Fortunately, I was a lot happier with today’s movie, Wreck-It Ralph than I was with yesterday’s entry.

The film follows the adventures of Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) a video game villain who gets tired of being a “bad guy” and sets out to find a chance to be a hero in another video game. However, this doesn’t lead to nearly as much jumping from game to game as one might expect. In fact, for most of the movie Ralph winds up in a bizarre candy go-cart game called Sugar Rush. There he befriends Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) a “glitch” who’s also trying to change her video-game fate, in her case by entering the race at the center of that game.

The movie has a lot of fun references to classic video games, though, again, not as many as one might expect, and some recognizable actors in supporting roles.

Unfortunately, the latter is actually the source of one of my gripes about this movie. Both Jack McBrayer as Fix-It Felix, Jr., (the protagonist of Ralph’s game), and Jane Lynch as Sgt. Calhoun (the main character in a sci-fi combat game that Ralph briefly visits,) turn in performances that are virtually indistinguishable from the roles they’re best known for. I’m not sure if this was a result of direction, or their own choices as actors, but I do know that every time they showed up I felt like I was watching Kenneth Parcell and Sue Sylvester in a really strange love-story. It definitely pulled me out of the movie.

Aside from that, the voice work was first-rate. I particularly liked what Reilly did as Ralph, while Alan Tudyk almost steals the whole movie with a fantastic performance as King Candy.

The plot wound up being fairly being fairly conventional Disney fare, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Starting with a fantastically creative premise, the movie did bog down a bit in the middle, as it shifted into a more conventional story-arc, but then it succeed in delivering a fun and emotionally satisfying conclusion.

At the end of the day, the film offers a good mix of heart, humor and storytelling that was creative, even if it missed the opportunity to be even more so. This is more than enough to overcome a couple of questionable vocal performances, and a mildly-plodding middle act. Wreck-It Ralph is definitely worth seeing.

[Wreck-It Ralph (2012) – Directed by Rich Moore – Rated PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence]

OM|ED Rating: Worth Seeing