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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Nov 5: Wreck-It Ralph

Monday

Nov 5: Wreck-It Ralph

"A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives."
Directed by: Rich Moore, Rated: PG, 108 minutes

I apologize to all of you readers expecting a review of V for Vendetta today as it is in fact, the Fifth of November. But, luckily, I was able to catch Wreck-It Ralph after a record-breaking weekend, which it completely and utterly deserves. Wreck-It Ralph is a return to form for the House of Mouse and feels more of its own unique masterpiece then it does an actual Disney movie. It's full of color, tons and tons of video game cameos and references, and manages to create a world you'll be dying to live in. My only complaint is that I wanted to see more and more of this world, and it's because of this that I so desperately want a sequel.

Whoever would have imagined the day you'd see a character hand a Pacman cherry to Q-Bert? @!?*

Ralph (John C. Reilly) is a Donkey Kong inspired behemoth who's the villain in an arcade game called Fix it Felix, Jr. an obvious parallel to Super Mario. Unfortunately for Felix (Jack McBrayer) and his game, Ralph is tired of being the villain and wants a way to become the hero and get all the attention and love he sees Felix getting showered with. He wants friends and he wants cake, and he thinks the only way to become a hero is to find his own Hero Medal. In the world of Wreck-It Ralph, all of the games in the arcade are connected, with the power strip being Game Central, where after hours each game's characters can jump from game to game to visit, hang out, or in Ralph's case, seek a medal. Ralph heads to Hero's Duty (clearly inspired by Call of Duty + Halo), a hardcore first person shooter with a lady warrior, Calhoun (Jane Lynch), in command. After finding his medal, Ralph is again on the run and finds himself crash-landing in Sugar Rush, a Mario Kart inspired racing game. In this world, Ralph encounters Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), a young wannabe racer that's also a glitch in the game. As they're both outcasts, the two team up to figure out a way to become something more than forgettable characters and find their place in the video game world.

Candy-haired little girl and a massive brute of a wrecking ball as friends? Check!

Wreck-It Ralph is the greatest video game movie ever made. Not only does the film create a vibrant, deep, and extravagant world of its own, but it references classic worlds any game would recognize and combines it all into one universe you'd die to live in. From Mario to Sonic, from Street Fighter to Pacman, Wreck-It Ralph includes it all. It's one of the biggest surprises and easiest things to love about the film, and as a video game nerd myself, I continually was pointing at the screen in happiness, seeing so-and-so included. But, as I mentioned, it's not all about the "celebrity" cameos as much as it is about the world that's on the screen. Ralph breaks through the arcade screen and into a world so rich with color, energy, and familiarity you can't help but sucked into it immediately. The characters created don't feel like strangers to the classic icons of gaming and Ralph himself (and is game) feel like something you played growing up as a kid. This was my biggest concern going in, that Ralph would not fit in with the rest of the gaming legends, and to my surprise, it all works in a way you could never imagine.

Satan, Zombies, Bowser, Zangief, Ghost, Bison, and... Ralph? Yep, it works. 

A lot of credit has to be given to the voice actors involved in the film as well. Bringing these characters to life was a lot more work than animating and rendering and the cast behind the cartoon faces works wonders. John C. Reilly is the perfect man to play the clumsy, yet lovable Ralph and he brings the sincerity we've come to love to the role and makes it completely his own. Sarah Silverman surprises as Venelope and leaves you kind of shocked that such a vulgar-mouthed comedienne could become such a lovable, yet aggressive, little girl. The two both share plenty of scenes of dialogue that leave you in stitches and the names they come up with for each other leave you floored in the creativity of it all. Who knew that PG-name calling could be so fun? Of course, it's not all about the big guy and the little girl, and Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, and Alan Tudyk all play rather large roles in the adventure as well. Lynch is wonderful as the brash, take-charge commander and McBrayer is the innocent, clean-mouthed hero you'd run into on the streets of Pleasantville. Tudyk manages to become absolutely unrecognizable as King Candy, the ruler of Sugar Rush, and has so much fun emulating the stereotypical  Jewish-ish, fast talking, almost Woody Allen-esque character. The entire cast works great together and a large part of that has to be because of the fact they recorded their scenes together, in a studio, as opposed to recording separately, the way animated movies are usually done. Everyone has great chemistry and it's a large part of what drives the movie forward.

I was hesitant on hearing that Silverman was cast as Vanellope but dammit does she do an incredible job. 

Wreck-It Ralph is a hilarious adventure through a nostalgic past that manages to create its own memories along the way. It's a film that packs a lot of heart and brings just as many laughs as it does moments of sweet, goopity love. It's a film that does the seemingly impossible and creates a world that feels so new, yet so familiar, and crafts a story about fitting in and finding your place that everyone can relate to. With colorful settings and an even more colorful cast, Wreck-It Ralph deserves your love and attention. It's easily the greatest animated movie of the year and one of the best in recent memory and if you're a fan of video games, arcades, or even just being a kid, you'll find plenty of 8-bit glory to enjoy.

The Good:
seeing all of your favorite video game characters popping up left and right
The Better:
being introduced to a whole new cast of characters that fit right in with the rest of the gang
The Best:
being reminded of an easier, simpler time but also re-energizing the kid inside and smiling all the way through
The Oscar Chances:
Best Animated Feature

Overall Score: 8.9/10

Discussion Question:
What was your favorite video game growing up?

Trailer:

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8 Comments:

At November 5, 2012 at 11:52 PM , Anonymous Tom said...

My favorite part of this movie was the care that they gave to all the little references. I'm sure I missed a ton too.

 
At November 5, 2012 at 11:59 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Same here! My eyes were all over the screen during the Game Central scenes, looking for everything and anything I may recognize. Definitely going to be fun going through it all on DVD.

 
At November 6, 2012 at 12:58 AM , Blogger alienxphile said...

I absolutely fell head over heals in LOVE with this film when I first heard about it and that love has just grown stronger and stronger ever since. Usually I don't go to see a film more than once at the theaters but I plan on seeing this one a few more times in 3D. It is that good.(9.5/10.0) To answer your 'Discussion Question', my favorite games growing up were Killer Instinct(SNES), WOLF 3D (COMPUTER), Battletoads(SNES) and Claymates(SNES).

 
At November 6, 2012 at 1:00 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Great games! Although Battletoads is impossible lol. I remember playing Killer Instinct over and over and over and over though. So fun.

 
At November 6, 2012 at 1:10 AM , Blogger Mettel Ray said...

Really excited to see this one. It seems fun and has probably a good moral story for the kids. The quality of animations is already on a level that is pretty much amazing so I don't see why this would be one for the history books. C. Reilly's voice is kind of perfect as well I guess. My favorite was Tank (Battle City). Pure classic.

 
At November 6, 2012 at 1:11 AM , Blogger Nick said...

Definitely check it out. I'm actually thinking about heading to the theaters again to check it out in 3D.

 
At November 17, 2012 at 8:25 AM , Anonymous Blockbuster Diva said...

I so can't wait to watch this one, with all the positive reviews! Can't believe I haven't yet! It would be really nice to see all the games I grew up with on the big screen.

 
At November 17, 2012 at 2:44 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Definitely check it out! I think I might go see it again in 3D

 

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