Wreck-It Ralph

Film Review – Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

I watched Wreck-It Ralph the other day, because it was Sadie’s birthday and that was the film she chose. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it because it had been a long day at work and the last thing I needed was a noisy, gaudy cartoon full of helium-voiced American children. As soon as it started though, my interest was piqued. I hadn’t heard of it before, so I didn’t know the concept – it’s based on some old computer games, Wreck-It Ralph himself is sort of an amalgam of Donkey Kong and the monsters from Rampage (which was an AWESOME game back in the day by the way) so to an old gamer like me it was great spotting some of the references that would be lost on the younger audience (loved seeing Q*Bert get a cameo too, and the Streetfighter guys).

As far as the story goes, Wreck-It Ralph is sick and tired of being the bad guy in his game, and becomes jealous of the hero – Fix-It Felix, Jr (a sort of Mario character). He leaves his own game in order to try and win a medal in another, and although he undeservedly gets his medal he soon loses it again and has to enlist the help of Vanellope, a young girl who dreams of being a racer in the game Sugar Rush,  but keeps glitching all the time and is ostracised by the other racers.

The relationship between Ralph and Vanellope, although they have only recently met, is written to mirror that of an absent father and his daughter. I’m sure that there are quite a few who only see their children at weekends and may have taken them to see the film on one of those days. If they did, they may have perhaps been inspired to encourage their daughter as the film tries to lead them to do. Who knows?

Alright, so this is basically a cynical money making machine, designed to attract the kids with the flashing lights and convince the adults to cough up for tickets by dangling the sacred objects of their youth in front of them. It’s just as cynical to the kids, hoping to plant the seeds of future sales with such product placement as the Nes-Quick-Sand scene, and the Diet Coke/Mentoes mountain which ends up being a key plot device. That’s just the name of the game these days I suppose.

Nevertheless, as usual with these things it’s an entertaining ride, with all the classic story beats – sorrow, a quest, a romance, redemption… it deserves to be up there with the likes of A Bug’s Life and Cars as a decent slice of family entertainment and well worth seeing if you have children to placate or you miss the good old days of gaming. Oh, and the end credits are worth watching too!