Monday, 11 February 2013

Wreck-it-Ralph: Film Review

Straight from the word go, Wreck-it-Ralph has received some high praise indeed, such as being compared to Toy Story, but is this praise misguided? Does this new, video-game themed adventure warrant comparisons to such a beloved classic, or does it wreck the studio’s reputation? Fear not, the movie is much more entertaining than that terrible pun, even if there is a pun or two thrown in.

Wreck-it-Ralph is a new adventure, set completely in a video-game arcade, but don’t worry, the settings expand much further than that. It follows Wreck-it-Ralph, the villain for a classic retro game called Fix-it-Felix. For 30 years Ralph has been destroying buildings and watching Felix get rewarded for fixing them, and it occurs to him that there may be more to life. This sets him off on a journey of self-discovery, that will pair him with an assortment of characters, each with completely different characteristics, so it is interesting to see how they all come together. One thing leads to another, and Ralph is caught in a battle to save one video game from deactivation.

Whilst a generally light-hearted film, there are several incredibly dark moments. At one point, something happens that – at any other point – wouldn’t be too bad, but the dramatic music and the screams of protest from another character give that particular moment a sense of emotional distress, and I myself felt rather troubled, and I’ve watched Hostel.

The story spans a number of varied locations, including 3 main game worlds, and Game Central Station-the hub where characters meet, and visit eachothers’ games. The main 3 games are the Fix-it-Felix game, which has its own retro look, Hero’s Duty, which sports a sci-fi shooter look, and the majority of the film is spent in Shugar Rush, a world made up entirely of sweets.

The level of detail that has gone into each world is incredible. Ralph’s world contains objects that are blocky and everything is made up of pixels rather than the smooth visuals of the rest of the characters. The inhabitants’ movements are jumpy and little touches, such as the way they jump up steps rather than climb them is great. Small additions such as these really help to build an atmosphere.

John C. Reilly does a great job at bringing the character to life, and creating a bond with the audience, even if he does annoy me in most other things he does (maybe it’s his face, who knows?). Jane Lynch also lends her voice as a tough-as-nails commander from Hero’s Duty who manages to sound, as well as look, out of place among the pink and yellow of Shugar Rush. A host of other characters are also present, including cameos from Pac-man, Sonic the Hedgehog and Doctor Eggman, all of which create a superb cast.

Wreck-it-Ralph doesn’t live up to its expectations, it doesn’t surpass them - it absolutely smashes them. A faultless cast, an imaginative story, a theme which has never been explored in this way before, and multiple references (not just to games) keeps an audience entertained from start to finish. If you’ve been put off by the fact that you aren’t a gamer, don’t be – this movie is an exciting and entertaining ride for anyone.

8.5/10 - Great

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