Little kids like video games. Their parents grew up playing video games. How on earth did it take until 2012 for a movie about video game characters to hit theaters? Disney's Wreck-It Ralph is one of the most entertaining and funniest animated movies I've seen in a long time, and I can't even fathom a single child who will not be enthralled by the picture.
Wreck-It Ralph follows an arcade villain (voiced by John C. Reilly) whose job it is to destroy things, only to have his counterpart Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer) arrive to save the day. When the arcade shuts down for the night, the characters leave their "homes" to interact with one another in a video game world. Ralph, depressed that he always has to be the bad guy, goes to group help sessions where he commiserates with other villains (led by one of the Pac-Man ghosts).
After one extremely painful night, Ralph decides to venture into another game - a modern first-person shooter - with hopes of winning his first medal. He immediately realizes he's in over his head, and through a series of circumstances winds up in yet another game - "Sugar Land" - where he meets a glitch-induced girl named Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). Ralph decides to help Vanellope avoid the clutches of the evil King Candy (Alan Tudyk), while Fix-It Felix sets out to find his longtime foe and bring him back to his own game before the arcade owner shuts them down for good.
Wreck-It Ralph is much like Toy Story only with video game characters, and it works from start to finish. While not as deep as Toy Story, Wreck-It Ralph presents a collection of likable and entertaining characters and places them in an adventure-filled story.
The result is a highly energized, fast-paced, funny and extremely silly movie that hits all the right notes. Between the goofy characters, ludicrous settings and exciting story, kids of all ages will get a kick out of it. For those of us who are a little older, the movie features more than a few nods to old-school videogames.
There's really not much more to say. Wreck-It Ralph is arguably the first must-see family film of the year - and yes, that includes Disney-Pixar's Brave - and a legitimate contender for Best Animated Picture of the Year.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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