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Review: 'Wreck-It Ralph' draws in all crowds

By John Nicholson
On November 6, 2012

I'm always rooting for a new Disney animated feature, and "Wreck-It Ralph" gave me a lot to cheer for: a fresh concept and clever execution to match it.

Rich Moore has directed this feature with a sharp eye, but winning over both hearts and minds is a tall order, and that's exactly what the film did.

John C. Reilly is the perfect voice actor of the title character, the villain in an old-school video game who's tired of being a "bad guy." He never gets any approbation and has to live in a dump, quite literally, while top-billed hero Fix-It Felix, Jr., (voiced by Jack McBrayer) wins all the praise. So Ralph does the unthinkable and breaks out of his arcade console, invading other game environments where he can prove himself a hero by winning a metal so he can finally feel important and appreciated.

I hate the term I'm about to use, but I consider myself a gamer, and Moore and his team have managed to create a movie that works on several levels (no pun intended) so that kids, grownups, and video-game fanatics can all appreciate it. I loved all of the video game references they threw into the film.

Many of my childhood heroes and villains made cameos, like Sonic the Hedgehog and Bowser from Mario Bros. "Wreck-It Ralph" is brimming with gags and visually inventive ideas, as when Ralph (who lives in an aging, 8-bit universe) encounters slicker, better-animated characters from newer games where he proclaims, "When did videogames become so violent and scary?"

In fact, the first half of the film is a constant delight as clever, funny ideas are presented, one after another. I was constantly laughing, and I even shed a few tears as Disney always finds a way to pull at my heartstrings.

I instantly loved the relationship on which the movie hinges, between a weary Wreck-It Ralph and the obnoxiously "cute" game-girl Vanellope von Shweets (voiced by scene-stealing Sarah Silverman).

The main villain, King Candy (Alan Tudyk, doing a hilarious impression of Ed Wynn) keeps you guessing his character. I feel into his ruse many times as the film went on, finally figuring out he was the bad guy!

"Wreck-It Ralph" is a perfect example of a film that brings together awesome visuals, great storylines and memorable characters. There's much to enjoy and admire, and anyone who sees this film will leave with a smile on their face and quoting lines from it many memorable characters. Even the short animated film, "Paperman," told a beautiful story in such a short time.

The six-and-a-half-minute short subject that precedes the feature, is perfection itself, an amusing and ingenious love story told entirely in pantomime and styled in black & white (with just a touch of color). Here is a completely contemporary short that shows what talented people can do with one good idea. Kudos to director John Kahrs and his colleagues for creating an amazing story that stole my heart and became my new favorite Disney short. I give the film 5 fix out of 5.

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