Wreck It Ralph (2012)
Directed by: Rich Moore | 92 minutes | animation, comedy, family | Original voice cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Adam Carolla, Alan Tudyk, Mindy Kaling, Joe Lo Truglio, Ed O’Neill, Dennis Haysbert, Edie McClurg, Raymond S. Persi, Horatio Sanz, Rachael Harris, Skrillex, Rich Moore, Stefanie Scott, Jamie Elman, Tim Mertens, Laraine Newman | Dutch voice cast: Frank Lammers, Irene Moors, Georgina Verbaan
All your life just being the bad guy. Knowing for thirty years that you can perform this thankless task every day, where nobody seems to appreciate you. When you hear Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) sighing “It sure must be nice being the good guy” in the beginning of ‘Wreck-It Ralph’, some understanding is certainly in order. Now Ralph is not just a bad guy, he is the protagonist in an arcade computer game. However, it is not him, but his opponent Fix-It Felix (voiced by Jack McBrayer) who is cheered every day, who lives in a beautiful house and who is showered with medals. Where Ralph has to destroy everything in his computer game, Felix is the hero of the game. And that’s enough for Ralph after thirty years.
‘Wreck-It Ralph’ takes place in its entirety in the computer game world created by the creative minds of Walt Disney called ‘Game Central Station’. Game Central Station acts as an in-between world to which all arcade cabinets are connected and where all game heroes come together when they are not in their game. And so we also see other well-known game characters such as Bowser and the ghost from Pacman walking around. It is beautiful to see how this world has been transformed into a fun and believable environment. Disney has incorporated all kinds of nice details into it. However, the problems in Game Central Station start when Ralph decides that he also wants to be the hero in one game and tries his luck in other computer games. This is not appreciated by the rest of the characters, as this can disrupt the computer games. When this happens, the arcade cabinets can be locked.
His quest for heroism soon leads Ralph to the violent “Hero’s Duty” where he captures his coveted medal, but beyond that causes more misery than joy. Finally, he ends up in Sugar Rush, a beautiful color parade that almost hurts your eyes and where a kart race takes place. It is here where he meets the young Vanellope (voice of Sarah Silverman), who finds herself having her own problems. With a lot of pain and effort, a beautiful friendship eventually develops between the broad Ralph and the small and oh so cute and funny Vanellope. The relationship between these two, who both turn out to have the same wish and have more in common than you would initially suspect, is beautifully and touchingly portrayed. And that goes for the entire movie.
‘Wreck-It Ralph’, as befits a good animation film, has more than enough in store in terms of humor. You actually start watching the film with a smile and it stays there for the full hundred minutes. Whether it’s the opening with a fun psychological session with Ralph and his fellow baddies, the ‘triumphal march’ in Hero’s Duty or the kart race in Sugar Rush, all worlds offer enough entertainment and are beautifully portrayed. With its many references to the time of the arcade, ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ is nostalgic enough for older viewers and also cheerful and funny enough for the younger audience. Perhaps, in retrospect, the beautiful and original appearance hides a story that is just a bit too dull and not very original, a story in which not all the different storylines are worked out equally convincingly. But the movie is forgiven. Wreck-It Ralph is another fine and original piece of Disney work.