What would a holiday movie season be without a Disney film over-running the cinema?
This year's offering is aimed towards the video game crowd. Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is an 80's arcade villain in the video game "Fix-It Felix, Jr." The plot of "Fix-It Felix, Jr." involves Ralph destroying an apartment building while Felix (Jack McBrayer) attempts to fix Ralph's destruction. After doing this for thirty years, Ralph dreams of shedding his villain persona and wanting to embrace the idea of being a hero.
Ralph decides to leave the "Fix-It Felix, Jr." game and enters into another game in an attempt to obtain a medal to prove he is a hero. Ralph enters the game "Hero's Duty", a Halo-style shooter game and is able to retrieve the medal he has pined over for so long. In his attempt to return to the "Fix-It Felix, Jr." game, he winds up in kart-racing game "Sugar Rush".
Once in "Sugar Rush", Ralph loses his medal to Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) who uses the medal to enter the main kart race of the game. The ruler of "Sugar Rush", King Candy, (Alan Tudyk) considers her a glitch in the game and disallows her entry into the kart race. Vanellope is crushed, but Ralph decides to help her learn to drive so that she can win the kart race and Ralph can get his medal returned to him.
During this time, Felix teams up with the lead character from "Hero's Duty", Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun (Jane Lynch) to find Ralph and to stop a massive bug invasion that could possibly destroy all of "Sugar Rush" and all the arcade games.
This is a film that is all built on your love for current and nostalgic video games. The commercials and trailers lead me to believe that this would be a film that incorporated lots of classic and new video game characters into a large scale video game adventure. As this is true, especially in the first act, the middle portion of this film falls into the usual pitfalls of a Disney film.
Once Ralph ends up in "Sugar Rush", the film becomes a lot more predictable. At first, Ralph and Vanellope are mortal enemies, not seeing eye to eye on anything. Once the main plot kicks in, they go from enemies, to friends, to enemies and friends again in very predictable fashion. I know this is a Disney film and that certain points would be hit, this film feels very safe and predictable in the middle portion of the film.
What initially starts out as a film that takes us into this video game world, then becomes almost sweeter than the world that "Sugar Rush" is based off of. Once the third act kicks in, the film becomes a bit more entertaining than the act that had proceeded it.
All of the voice acting provides a solid job, John C. Reilly and Jane Lynch especially. Jack McBrayer is decent, if forgettable as the very average hero, Felix. Sarah Silverman, who I find somewhat funny in her stand-up, comes off as annoying as the edgy Vanellope.
The design of the video games and the worlds they inhabit is very impressive. The colors and details are very solid and the way the characters meet and move about the worlds is imaginative. The world of "Hero's Duty" was a hilarious riff on "Halo" and the sequence of Ralph in this world was a comedic highlight for me.
This is a solid, if unspectacular addition to the Disney filmography. Highlighted by a very strong first act and a solid third act, this is a mild recommendation. This would be a higher recommendation if the middle of the portion of the film was more entertaining and had a less predictable factor. As it is, kids and lovers of all things video games will really love this film. As I am not the biggest video game fan, maybe some of this film missed for me. My mild recommendation though, comes from the storyline more so than the video game nods itself.
As it is, this is Disney and you know right away what type of film you are walking into.