Wreck-It-Ralph is one of few solo Disney films (without the assistance of the wizards at Pixar) of the past decade or so that actually works.
It is an utterly charming film that immerses the viewer in multiple video game worlds that truly feel like they came out of the respective genres each game originated from.
The film follows Ralph (John C. Reilly), a bad guy in an early 80s video arcade game called Fix It Felix Jr. who, after thirty years, is tired of being the villain. At a “Bad-Anon” meeting with other video game baddies, like the Pac-Man ghosts and Mario Brother’s Bowser, he reveals his desire to be a hero which these not-so-bad-guys don’t understand. At the thirtieth anniversary party for Fix It Felix Jr. where Ralph isn’t invited, but still shows up to, he vows to win a medal (the ultimate sign one’s a hero in video game worlds apparently) and “game hops” to a high-tech first person shooter game called Hero’s Duty which doesn’t work out too well. He takes a side-trip to another game, Sugar Rush, where he befriends another outcast video game character nicknamed “the Glitch” (Sarah Silverman) who is also trying to be a hero in her own game.
Meanwhile, Felix (30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer) is trying to find Ralph to bring him back to their own game because he’s realized without a villain he can’t be a hero.
The film kind of acts like a video game themed retelling of Toy Story where a world that doesn’t exist is brought to life completely out of sight of human beings who think the arcade games are just metal and plastic. The animation (particularly the cubist world of Fix It Felix Jr.) and voice work are of the high standard you’d expect from Disney. And the message of the movie is meaningful and touching, as most Disney films usually present.
As with most Disney and Pixar movies, Wreck-It-Ralph will appeal to both kids and adults. It’s an enjoyable excursion you’ll be happy you took, even if you don’t get a medal at the end of it.