Wreck-It Ralph is goofily charming | Film Review | Indy Week
Pin It

Wreck-It Ralph is goofily charming 

Taffyta Muttonfudge, voiced by Mindy Kaling

Photo courtesy of Disney

Taffyta Muttonfudge, voiced by Mindy Kaling

Wreck-It Ralph, the title character in Disney's agreeably goofy new 3-D animated film, is a 1980s-style arcade game bad guy in the tradition of Donkey Kong. He's a blue-collar sort of fellow, clocking in each day to suffer ignoble defeat at the hands of the game's goody-goody hero, Fix-It Felix.

In the notional universe of Wreck-It Ralph, video game characters have their own lives outside the workaday demands of their profession. When the lights go out at the arcade, the characters travel via power cord to Game Central Station, where there's a definite social pecking order. Old-timers like Q*bert, for instance, are reduced to begging for change.

Ralph, voiced with great comic instincts by John C. Reilly, is tired of being the bad guy all the time. So he sets out to win the love and affection of the pixelated people by earning a medal in the violent first-person shoot-em-up Hero's Duty (think Halo, Gears of War, etc.). Plans go awry, and to save the day Ralph must team with a hard-case female space marine (Jane Lynch), an anime kart-racing pixie (Sarah Silverman) and his old nemesis Fix-It Felix (the very funny Jack McBrayer, of TV's 30 Rock).

As family entertainment, Wreck-It Ralph is an entirely professional production. Everyone delivers the goods, from the writers to the animators to the voiceover performers. The jokes are solid, the 3-D technology is artfully deployed, and the actors locate the humor and heart in their characters. Veteran stand-up comic Silverman is especially nimble as our feisty heroine. As with her stage act, she has fun spiking her cutie-pie persona with mischief and sharp edges.

Gamers will enjoy the wink-nudge references to arcade gaming's 1980s heyday, while the kids will recognize more recent signifiers. Disney's Wreck-It Ralph is final evidence, if we still need it, that gamer culture is now entirely mainstream and multi-generational.

I liked how the movie plays fair within the existential rules of its own premise. Characters regenerate within their own games, for instance, but can die inside another. But the underlying story of Wreck-It Ralph is getting awfully familiar: the bad guy who turns good. We've been riffing on this one for a while—Megamind, Despicable Me, all the way back to Shrek and beyond. Come on, Li'l Hollywood, let's get some new stories in the mix. Do it for the kids.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Good men are hard to find."

Film Details

Wreck-It Ralph
Rated PG-13 · 108 min. · 2012
Official Site: disney.go.com/wreck-it-ralph
Director: Rich Moore
Writer: Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee, Rich Moore and Rich Moore
Producer: Clark Spencer
Cast: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Adam Carolla, Jamie Elman, Rachael Harris, Dennis Haysbert, Mindy Kaling and Edie McClurg
Wreck-It Ralph in 3D
Rated PG-13 · 108 min. · 2012
Official Site: disney.go.com/wreck-it-ralph
Director: Rich Moore
Writer: Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee, Rich Moore and Rich Moore
Producer: Clark Spencer
Cast: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, Adam Carolla, Jamie Elman, Rachael Harris, Dennis Haysbert, Mindy Kaling and Edie McClurg

Now Playing

Wreck-It Ralph is not showing in any theaters in the area.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Film Review



Twitter Activity

Comments

My wife is super hyped up over this movie. We're going to see it saturday. Having married a Korean american, …

by Timothy Oswald on On the Upside, Crazy Rich Asians Is a Genuine Cultural Milestone. On the Downside, It's ... Not That Good? (Film Review)

I love this film, and we just did a podcast about it! We explore age-related cognitive impairment, alcoholism, rural midwestern …

by Scott Wickman on Nebraska is maddeningly dead-on (Film Review)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

My wife is super hyped up over this movie. We're going to see it saturday. Having married a Korean american, …

by Timothy Oswald on On the Upside, Crazy Rich Asians Is a Genuine Cultural Milestone. On the Downside, It's ... Not That Good? (Film Review)

I love this film, and we just did a podcast about it! We explore age-related cognitive impairment, alcoholism, rural midwestern …

by Scott Wickman on Nebraska is maddeningly dead-on (Film Review)

Good movie. That showed a career service member can be sold out by BS politicians

by Darin Thigpen Sr on Only military guys can understand (Film Review)

It is a very good film.I really liked it.The film is visual treat to the audience.Suraj Sharma nailed the role …

by Fermin Johnson on Life of Pi is a touching fable (Film Review)

Much as I hate to be that guy, I must nonetheless point out a minor error in your review. The …

by Just Another Malcontent on Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs Is an Alternately Respectful and Baffling Parable About Japan (Film Review)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation