Manic Matrix from the House of Mouse
, 08 Feb 2013
Wreck-It Ralph is top-drawer Disney. It could easily have gotten lost in retro in-jokes aimed at the 24-bit gamer in everyone over 35, but it ends up being an adorable, colourful romp that kids of all ages will lap up. Pixar has definitely had an influence on Disney, and consequently adults won't be bored, for the first half at least (where the best jokes sit, aimed at adults, which will by-pass younger viewers). But the whirling colour and fast-paced action in the second half will have the kids mesmerized (though under-5's might get antsy waiting for the plot to kick in).
Ralph is a bad guy in a 30-yr-old platform game. He's tired of being the bad guy and wants out, so he quits his job and goes in search of a crumb of respect, game-hopping and causing havoc with his meat-hook hands. He crashes through a brand new Call-of-Duty-style game called Duty Calls, and ultimately ends up stuck in Sugar Rush (think Mario Kart on the Wii) battling a little girl with a big secret. The internal world that our hero inhabits looks both incredible and strangely credible. Each character physically moves and acts as you'd expect them to, living as they do in an arcade where different generations of games live side-by-side. (I. e the older the game, the more the characters are simpler, move less fluidly, with more straightforward, simpler motives.) A lot of the early humour is derived from these different generations rubbing together, and results in a great secondary story to Ralph's, where wholesome Felix falls in love with a tough female space marine.
The voice actors are all excellent, notably John C. Reilly as Ralph, Sarah Silverman disguises her voice for Vanellope, Jack McBrayer (Kenneth from 30 Rock) is perfect as Felix, Jane Lynch (Glee) as a potty-mouthed marine, and Alan Tudyk (Serenity) makes a brilliantly manic King Candy.
Wreck-It Ralph is a very funny and clever film of two halves, one for the adults and one for the kids. I'm guessing it's the most fun a family with kids will have collectively at the cinema this year. Not quite Toy Story, but that was always going to be a tall order.
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