It’s been a while since a new Disney film has caught my eye and lured me into watching it, as I am of the impression that “the classics” are still the best, so I’ve tended to steer clear of newer releases. For Disney, the last few years have been dominated by the success of a certain icy adventure, so ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ appeared to go under the radar a little bit, in terms of publicity and reception. I went into watching this with reasonably high expectations, as I’d heard a lot of good things and I was pleasantly surprised by this Disney offering.
The titular character, Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the villain in an arcade game called Fix-It Felix. Felix (voiced by Jack McBrayer) clears up the damage that Ralph inflicts upon a block of flats, much to the delight of the inhabitants who reward Felix, and his human controller, with a gold medal. A genuine good guy stuck playing a baddie, Ralph goes in search of his own gold medal and he will stop at nothing until he manages to achieve his goal. When he finally manages to get his hands one one, he loses it and the film switches its attention to his mission to reclaim what is rightfully his. With the help of his new friend, mischievous outcast Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman), Ralph searches through various worlds within the arcade universe for his coveted medal.
This is a really, really clever film. It’s a film that will appeal to people of both genders and all ages. It’s a film about an arcade-game villain and there is an intense action sequence within the first few minutes, so immediately we think this will be a film geared towards a male audience. But the majority of the film’s action takes place in a place known as the Sugar Rush Kingdom, a world dominated by confectionary delight and beautiful colours. Sugar Rush Kingdom is also home to a collection of female characters, including the spritely Vanellope, who is undoubtedly a character that young girls around the world will adore for years to come.
The visual effects in the film are fantastic. The action scene that takes place in the Hero’s Duty arcade world is particularly good and the Sugar Rush Kingdom is equally as breathtaking with it’s vivid use of colour. It was the attention to detail this film showed that really impressed me however. Certain characters move in the jolted style that was so typical of 80s and 90s arcade games with small references to classic games like Pac-man and Sonic also making for pleasurable viewing.
‘Wreck-It Ralph’ perfectly balances the entertainment value for adult and child audiences as well. The jokes are well placed and the characters are likeable. The sense of nostalgia that the film instills in the older viewer adds a brilliant dimension to the film and there are indeed certain points in the film where I was smiling as I saw various gaming characters from my childhood years grace the screen. The film also has its serious moral overtones, and relays a message that I think is particularly poignant in today’s society. It teaches us that no matter what other people may say and do, it’s okay to be different and we should embrace what does make us different from others. Both Ralph and Vanellope are characters that aren’t really accepted in their own worlds, but they are the two heroes of this tale. An important social message delivered in a typically Disney style; full of colour, laughter and brilliant characterisation. A really original idea that works perfectly for a film to ensure a wonderful viewing experience for all ages.
DIRECTOR: RICH MORE
STARRING: JOHN C. REILLY, SARAH SILVERMAN, JANE LYNCH, JAKE MCBRAYER, ALAN TUDYK