Reviewed by Sam Robinson
Rated PG. Starring the voices of John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch. Out now on DVD & Blu-Ray.
He smashes! He has humungous fists! His breath stinks! No, it’s not green superhero The Hulk, I’m talking about the title character of the Disney film Wreck-It Ralph. Ralph is the antagonist in a retro 80s arcade game named Fix-It Felix Jr., and spends all day destroying a digital high-rise building for protagonist Felix to fix. But Ralph is fed up with being the bad guy. After the arcade has closed for the day, in the world inside the game he is outcast by the other characters, and Ralph is sick of Felix getting all the kudos for the game’s success. So he leaves the Fix-It world and voyages into other arcade games on a mission to earn himself a shiny hero medallion just to prove to others that he’s more than just a brick-pummelling oaf.
This flick is a lot of fun, and you can’t help but get lost in this digital universe that Ralph jumps around as he goes from game to game. There’s some very funny moments, particularly in the Sugar Rush game world where the king is guarded by Oreos and a diet cola volcano sits dangerously under Mentos stalactites.
Jack McBrayer is brilliant voicing Fix-It Felix (although the character is so similar to his 30 Rock character Kenneth) as is Jane Lynch as the tough Sergeant Calhoun. The animation is sharp and I loved how some characters move with jerky motions and others strobe – capturing just how arcade games have evolved over time. Even the soundtrack featuring the likes of dubstep mind-bender Skrillex is enjoyable. There’s a sentence I’d never thought I’d write.
If I have one gripe with the film, they really could have sent the characters to more game worlds. So much of the film is spent in the sugar game that I was longing to go somewhere new; as well as craving some sweet treats from the cinema’s candy bar.
Throughout the film, Ralph’s internal struggle is whether he is good or bad. By default (and name) he is the bad guy, living in the shadow of golden-hammer-wielding good guy Felix. But Ralph wants to be good, and prove it to others by getting his hero medal. I think this is true of us too – we are sinners by nature and so often try to work at our goodness and chase stuff that makes us feel better about ourselves. Romans 3:10b-12 says:
‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become useless; there is no one who does good, there is not even one.’
In God’s eyes all our medals are nothing, because Jesus is the only one who washes us clean from our sin and makes us right with God. Thankfully we don’t have to explore the universe to earn a hero status because God steps into our situation in Jesus.
If you love gaming nostalgia, dubstep, or lollies, this is the movie for you. If you like none of those things, that’s a real shame! Oh and make sure you check out the excellent bonus Paperman short.
I’m giving Wreck-It Ralph three-and-a-half stars out of five. Game over.