Movie Review - Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph is the name of a video-game character. He's the villain in the arcade machine called "Fix-It Felix, Jr." Children come to the arcade to play this machine as well as other new and old games. Just as in Toy Story, when the children leave, the games or rather the characters in the games come to life. They interact with one another. They have their own personalities and lives, and everything seems fine and dandy.

The only problem is that because Ralph is considered a villain in the game, all the other characters treat him like a pariah. This, however, makes no sense. Every indication suggests that the video-game characters are akin to actors, playing roles or else they're puppets being controlled by the children who play them. Therefore, I don't know why the other characters would fear Ralph or exclude him from things based solely on the role he plays. His villainy is clearly just an act, an act whose damage can be magically fixed. Unless the characters discriminate against him for his size alone, I don't get their behavior toward Ralph.

I suppose their discrimination is merely a plot device to get Ralph going on his adventure. It would be one thing if Ralph really were a bad guy but he's not. It's a fact that's obvious, but one that's ignored. Yet, it informs the actions of other characters later in the film, so it kept disconnecting me from the premise and the purpose here. It also negates the character arc for Ralph. If this whole story was supposed to teach or change Ralph, it didn't. I guess it made him appreciate his job more, but that was never really the problem. All he wanted was to get the characters in his machine to appreciate him more and by the end he didn't even get that.

Ralph has to leave his machine and travel through the electrical wires into other arcade machines. He stumbles into one machine called "Sugar Rush," which is a go-kart racing game set in a candy land environment. There he meets Vanellope, an avatar that has become a glitch in the game, something that's not supposed to be there. It's through the unlikely friendship with her that Ralph finds peace of mind, but it would have been more satisfying if that peace of mind had come through the friendship of the characters in his "Fix-It Felix" machine.

The writers create a monster, the cy-bug, that they don't really utilize much. The ultimate villain does some things that don't make sense. The world crafted is cute and at times clever but not everything was well-thought. The only thing left is the comedy styles of John C. Reilly who voices Ralph and Sarah Silverman who voices Vanellope. Silverman is amazing and hilarious here and Reilly's one-liners and insults represent some of the best comedic writing I've heard all year, even though a couple one-liners were perhaps inappropriate. I'm referring to the "nellie wafer" comment. What did that mean?

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated PG for some rude humor and mild action.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 41 mins.


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