Yes, I'm a grown up now. I mean I'm super grown up. I do all kinds of things I thought I'd never do like listen NPR and say 'Yes Dear' to just about everything no matter how stupid it might be and watch the Nightly News every evening and fill up my tank before the yellow light comes on and have a favorite chair and tell the kids how much better things were in my day. That's certified grown up stuff right there. But yet I was excited like a child to see Disney's animated feature 'Wreck-It Ralph'. Since I'm a gamer from way back, when I saw Q-Bert in the trailers, considering Q-Bert was my game along with Dig Dug and Donkey Kong Jr., I was all in. In fact I was so thrilled to see 'Wreck-It Ralph' that it could only disappoint. Fortunately for all involved 'Wreck-It Ralph' did not disappoint.
Thirty years ago there was this stand up arcade game called 'Fix-It Felix'. Think Donkey Kong if Donkey Kong was kind of lame. Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, is the bad guy in the game, crushing an apartment building while dropping bricks on Felix (Jack McBrayer) who is scaling up the building while repairing it with his magic hammer in his effort to save the residents. But after thirty years of being the bad guy, Ralph doesn't want to be the bad guy anymore. He wants to go to parties and eat cake and have friends and stuff. Just so you know, like 'Toy Story', when the lights go out all of the videogame characters come to life and can travel from game to game via the electrical wires.
Ralph is trying to get help for his affliction of not wanting to be bad via a bad guy help group, moderated by Clyde of Pac-Man fame, but they tell him he is what he and that's all he can be. Deal with it. Ralph isn't going out like that and through a series of
circumstances Ralph ends up in the ultra violent Halo-esque / Starship Trooper FPS game 'Hero's Duty' to retrieve a medal to help his cause, where he makes the acquaintance of the games heroine, the ridiculously hardcore Capt. Calhoun (Jane Lynch), a medal Ralph will subsequently misplace in some Candyland Kart game. Here Ralph meets the cute sprite Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) because all these types of movies have to have a cute kid in them, with Vanellope being the cutest, arguably, since Nemo got lost and had to be found.
There is an awful lot is going on because 'Wreck-It Ralph' is nothing if not one busy little movie. Ralph is trying to help Vanellope because Vanellope wants to race but the King of Candyland (Alan Tudyk) won't let her race, for what he says is for the good of the game and Vanellope in particular. Felix needs to find Ralph because his game is out of order without Ralph being there, and if the game gets shipped out, that's bad for all the characters in his game. Capt Calhoun is helping Felix find Ralph because Ralph took one her evil replicating bugs into Candyland, which is not only bad for Candyland but all the arcade games if this thing goes along unchecked.
It's a lot of turmoil to be sure, but what Ralph needs to learn is just because you're a bad guy, doesn't mean you're a bad guy. Got it?
So director Rich Moore's movie 'Wreck-It Ralph' is wonderful. I laughed, I cried, and a good sign of its entertainment value is that a theater filled to the brim with ankle-biters were quiet and attentive during the entire running time which meant I didn't have to go off on anybody's parents for their lack of control. But I do have to say there are a few intense emotional, violent and even scary moments in this movie which might be a little much for the younger children in the audience, and as such the movie does come by its PG rating honestly.
And that's going to be the best I will be able to muster up as far as finding something to criticize when it comes to 'Wreck-It Ralph'. The basics of what I'm looking for in my entertainment are pretty flawless in this one. It's never dull, often exciting, the voice acting is top notch, the animation is beyond reproach, the characters were about as well developed as one can reasonably expect from videogame characters, it was funny, and it was sweet. I would have to ask myself how could anybody watch this movie and not like it just a little bit. A little bit? Come on you angry, cynical people out there… I'm virtually pinching your cheek… it's going to be okay… exhale and smile.
Okay, maybe you don't like fast moving, colorful, sappy, snappy, semi-violent, manipulative kids movies with merchandise tie-in potential… you're more of a 'Lovely Bones' type of guy or gal and prefer to watch dead kids floating face down in shallow pools of water. But I bet even you played a videogame or two, right? Even though the movie takes place inside a videogame, the sub-videogame aspects and references in 'Wreck-It Ralph' were very cleverly integrated into the film, allowing us to play little mini-games to figure out what game and what character is being represented. That's fun right?
Okay, you never played videogames Mr. and Mrs. Cynical, but you like candy? Hanging out in Candyland and looking at the pretty gumdrops is going to warm your heart. It has to.
All we're saying here at the FCU is sometimes it's okay to release oneself to mass production, mass marketing and manipulation and just enjoy oneself at the show. 'Wreck-It Ralph' was a good time at the show. Capt. Calhoun action figure is on order.