Back when I saw the Wreck It Ralph trailer when it came out I was pretty excited. It's a movie about video games. What's not to love? I am not what you would call a hard core gamer but I enjoy video games. I know about the history of video games and can recognize many of video games icon figures. When I saw the part in the trailer when Ralph was at the Bad Guys Anonymous meeting with Bowser and a ghost from Pac-Man I smiled a huge nostalgic smile.
However, this same scene from the trailer and many of the movies posters, planted a seed of doubt for this movie. It seemed that this movie was going to rely heavily on nostalgia which could result in a lazy, uninteresting movie; like the Star Wars prequels. This brought my expectations down a little but I was still pretty excited and hoped that this movie would turn out good.
Let me first start off this review by saying that this movie does not rely on nostalgia. Sure it has many great nostalgic moments that will make any video game lover smile. These moments however are few and far between however and are merely a wink to the audience, which is what nostalgic moments should be. This movie relies on good story telling and great characters to carry the story. Wreck It Ralph is more than a movie about video games. It's about proving oneself and fighting for your dreams.
So I'm sure you know what Wreck It Ralph is about. It's about an eight bit video game bad guy named Wreck It Ralph. Ralph is tired of being the bad guy so he decides to game hop into other games in the arcade and try to be a good guy in those games. Although this is the main plot it is not the only plot. There are many other plots and sub plots that are formed by this one main plot.
These many sub-plots make the first third of Wreck It Ralph pretty confusing. I'm sure the majority of the theater, which was kids, wwas pretty confused too and was eager for this film to make sense like I was. Also the first third of the films had a bit of a pacing problem which further excelled the confusion. I was a bit worried that this film would not slow down and did not like the first third that much.
However this film takes a major U-Turn when we meet Sarah Silverman's character, a young glitch in a candy themed racing game. At first I didn't really like her character that much. She's annoying, loud and very persistent. Right after her introduction however something happens to this character that makes you feel bad for not liking her at first. My opinion of her was instantly changed.
Her character gives us someone to emotionally connect with in this tale of colorful and outlandish characters. All she wants is to fit in with the other racer girls but the girls won't accept her because she's a glitch. We connect with her because everyone wants to be liked and everyone knows how it feels to be rejected. She becomes the heart and emotional pull of this story. She also helps add depth and emotional attachment to Ralph because we see him become the good guy by helping her and being her friend.
Through the second third we get great character interaction between Ralph and Sarah Silverman's character, good character interaction between Jack McBrayer's character (Ralph's opposite) and Jane Lynch's character (a hardened veteran in a first person shooter game), more knowledge into the mysteries of the sub plots and a really fun time.
The final third however hits an emotional level that I did not expect. During this duration of this part of the movie the story takes a dramatic turn and soon becomes a story about living and dying, friendship and betrayal and good versus evil while still containing its animated charm and wit. I have never felt so much emotion in an animated movie since the Toy Story series.
Wreck It Ralph is not a perfect film. It had a fast paced, confusing beginning and the humor in this film didn't make me laugh. I'm not saying the humor was irritating it just didn't make me laugh out loud. Jane Lynch's voice over was a bit distracting for a few reasons and a bit unmemorable. This film succeeded however in the two most important aspects of movies, storytelling and character design. When these two aspects succeed greatly, the movie is automatically good. I give this film and A- and believe that this film should win best animated feature of the year.