“I’M GONNA WRECK IT!”: Disney’s newest film smashes at box office with hilarity and heart

Video games have not fared well on film. Few films based on video games could be considered good. On the other hand, films related to video games such as “Tron,” are somewhat more successful. “Wreck-It Ralph” fits into the latter category. “Wreck-It Ralph” is a story entrenched in video game culture, but it is not inaccessible to the average viewer.
“Wreck-It Ralph” follows the story of Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly), the villain of a fictional arcade game called “Fix-It Felix, Jr.” (based off the classic “Donkey Kong”). Ralph has been wrecking things, getting defeated by nice guy Felix (Jack McBrayer) and living alone for 30 years. After attending a villain support group, which features several classic video game characters, Ralph decides that he is tired of being a bad guy. He ventures out into other games to prove to the people in his game that he can be a hero. His adventures take him into other arcade games where he meets Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) from the first-person shooter game “Hero’s Duty” and Vanellope von Schweetz from the racing game “Sugar Rush.” Felix follows Ralph in an attempt to bring him back home.
The movie is very simplistic in its message and nature, but it is very effective. Throughout the film, Ralph is shown that while the acceptance of others is nice, he must learn to accept himself before he can be happy. This message is very similar to the one from the first “Shrek” movie in that the protagonist must come to terms with his own faults before he can be happy with his life. He sees this message reflected in the other characters he encounters through the different games.
There are several games that are briefly shown in the film in what could be considered extended cameo sequences, but the majority of the film takes place in “Fix-It Felix Jr.,” “Hero’s Duty” and “Sugar Rush.” These three games were created for the film itself. Out of the three of them, most of the time is spent in the “Sugar Rush” world featuring Silverman’s character, Vanellope. The game worlds are interesting, but the trailers for the film implied that the characters would visit more games over the course of the film.
While they did not go to as many games as expected, there were several cameos by various game characters. The various game characters would visit each other’s games or be seen at the Game Central Station, the area that connects all of the games. Many of the cameos were well executed and clever. Most of the cameos were nonspeaking roles in the background, but it was still entertaining to see well-known characters interacting. The reference humor in general was well executed and not as obtrusive as many pop culture references are in film.
The voice acting was very well done. John C. Reilly did great as Ralph. His voice alone made his emotions so evident that his feelings could be accurately portrayed without the animation. Jane Lynch steals every scene she is in with her role as Calhoun. She and Jack McBrayer’s Felix play off of each other very well and the contrast between her harsh voice and his wholesome voice works well. Both were great casting choices. The role that has divided many viewers is Sarah Silverman as Vanellope. She is from the “Sugar Rush” game and spends much of the movie with Ralph. They attempt to portray her as a cute and spunky child, and this meets with mixed success. Some viewers find her character to be charming and endearing; others find her and Silverman’s voice to be annoying.
“Wreck-It Ralph” is an excellent family film. There are lighthearted moments for the kids, and plenty of dark moments for the older viewers. Many of the video game references will only be picked up by people who grew up with the games. The movie is directed by Rich Moore, who directed several episodes of “Futurama” and “The Simpsons,” so he has a firm grasp on how to handle an audience of mixed age groups. The movie has the potential to appeal to a wider demographic and is well worth watching.