Animation Talk Stuff

Animation Monday: Wreck-It Ralph

I told you all that I could not wait to see this movie!  And Wreck-It Ralph was worth the wait!  Wreck-It Ralph is all about video games!  All of the characters in the movie are based off a fictional video game in the movie.  So yes; this movie has a geeky tone to it!  As always if you have not seen this movie do not read below; SPOILER ALERT!

Ralph (Voiced by John C. Reilly) is a bad guy in the video game Fix-It Felix, Jr.  His job is to wreck the building by breaking the windows and walls.  The hero in this game is Felix (Voiced by Jack McBrayer) who is a maintenance guy for the Niceland apartment building.  In the game Ralph climbs up the side of the building and wrecks the building.  Felix has to repair the windows before the building becomes too damaged.  When you complete a level the residents give Felix some pie and kisses.  And then they throw Ralph of the side of the building!  If you want you can actually play the game you see in the movie on the Disney website!

Ralph has been doing the same thing over and over for 30 years!  And as you know many people will face a midlife crisis in their life.  And Ralph goes through a midlife crisis!  After Litwak’s Arcade closes, the various video game characters are free to visit other games.  And Ralph attends a support group for video game villains where Ralph reveals his wish to stop being a bad guy.  This freaks out all the villains!  Ralph gets permission from Felix to attend the game’s 30th anniversary.  But the residents in the building refuse to accept him, saying that he would have to win a medal as Felix does.  Yes; in video games you are deemed the villain unless you win a medal.

After the arcade closes for the night the video game characters go to Game Central where they can go to any game they want!  There is also a bar called Tapper’s where Ralph meets a solider from Hero’s Duty.  The solider tells Ralph the game’s winner receives a medal and in turn Ralph enters the Hero’s Duty game.  He meets Sargent Calhoun (Voiced by Jane Lynch) who is a great leader!  But here is the problem; between game sessions, Ralph climbs the game’s central beacon and collects the medal, accidentally hatching a Cy-Bug, one of the game’s enemies, in the process. The Cy-Bug clings to Ralph as he stumbles into an escape pod that launches him out of the game.  This will come into play later in the movie.

Since Ralph is not in Fix-It Felix, Jr. the game is not working.  And if a game is not working it is unplugged.  If a game is unplugged, it leaves all the characters in that game homeless!  Felix has no choice but to go find Ralph.  You wouldn’t want to be homeless would you?  Ralph later lands in the game Sugar Rush which is a kart racing game.  As he searches for his medal, he meets Vanellope von Schweetz (Voiced by Sarah Silverman), a glitchy character who makes off with the medal so she can buy an entry into an after-hours race.  You notice that Vanellope glitches a lot in the movie.  Sadly; King Candy and the other racers refuse to let Vanellope take part, claiming that she is not really part of the game.  Then Ralph helps Vanellope build a kart, then teaches her how to drive in Diet Cola Mountain, an unfinished game level where Vanellope lives.  I liked this part of the movie!

Felix is on his search for Ralph and he lands in Hero’s Duty and meets Sargent Calhoun.  She explains that the Cy-Bugs can take over any game they enter.  They both go to the Sugar Rush game to search for Ralph and the Cy-Bugs but they get separated.  Felix gets put into jail in King Candy’s castle.  King Candy finds Ralph’s medal and offers it to Ralph in exchange for keeping Vanellope out of the race, explaining that she will be stranded in Sugar Rush forever if her glitches cause the game to be unplugged.  Sad really!  Most of the characters in the Sugar Rush game don’t like Vanellope and wish she was gone!  But for Ralph he does not take this lightly.  Fearing for Vanellope’s safety, he wrecks the kart and returns to Fix-It Felix, Jr.  But when Ralph returns he finds the game empty because the characters fear the game will be unplugged.  While in the game he sees Vanellope’s image on the Sugar Rush cabinet and realizes she is supposed to be part of the game and not a glitch.  This was a sweet moment in the movie!

Then the movie gets really good!  Ralph returns to Sugar Rush and finds Felix and Vanellope.  Ralph asks Felix to fix Vanellope’s kart so she can race.  While the race is occurring the Cy-Bugs hatch and attack while Felix, Calhoun and Ralph battle them.  Then Vanellope catches up to King Candy, Vanellope’s glitches show that he is actually Turbo, a character from an unplugged racing game, who has taken control of Sugar Rush. Vanellope uses her glitching to escape from Turbo, who is consumed by a Cy-Bug. The group flees the doomed game, but Vanellope cannot pass through the exit. Calhoun says the game cannot be saved because there is no beacon in the game similar to the one in Hero’s Duty that attracts and kills the Cy-Bugs.

Ralph heads to Diet Cola Mountain where he uses Mentos and Diet Coke to destroy the Cy-Bugs.  And Vanellope restores her status as the game’s lead character.  Felix and Ralph return to their game in time to show Litwak that it still works, sparing it from being unplugged; Felix marries Calhoun; and the characters of Fix-It Felix, Jr. gain a new respect for Ralph’s work as the villain.  Overall I thought the movie was excellent, well because I am a geek at heart!

The movie pushes a heartfelt message which everyone will love!  Wreck-It Ralph does a pretty good job as a story. The detail in the animation is great and stellar, especially in the Sugar Rush and Hero’s Duty scenes.  The animation is logical and adds an element of characterization.  As an added bonus there are a lot of great video game references and a few dorky pop culture nods like the Diet Coke and Mentos.  The characters are well-done and connect with the audience.  Venellope and Calhoun have a surprising amount of character development too, which is great!   Ralph’s friendship with Venellope is adorable and Calhoun and Felix’s romance is unconventional and sweet.

From the little touches like the way the video game characters move and dance to the larger strokes like housing Game Central within one of the arcade’s power strips.  Wreck-It Ralph is flowing with creativity.  Everything from glitches and cheat codes, to the ever-increasing complexity and graphical fidelity in games is touched on in brilliant fashion.  The basics can be appreciated by anyone, but some of the little references in the background are so obscure they act as a wink and nod from the creators and it makes you love video games even more!

Wreck It Ralph is so much more than its reference to the video game culture.  It’s smart, funny, charming, and its plot comes together perfectly!  I recommend everyone to go see this movie and I give Wreck It Ralph 4.5 out of 5 stars!

All images copyright from Disney.

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