Walt Disney Studios is the granddaddy of animation. No one questions that. Yet when I watch a film like “Wreck It Ralph” I am enthralled at not just the imagination of story or the eye popping visuals but most importantly the made up science the film’s video game characters interact with.
There are rules in play. All arcade game personalities can schmooze with each other after hours. Cross each other’s paths at “Cross Central Station” where a Pac Man cherry is offered up to a homeless QBert, and even attend a Bad Guys Anonymous Group, moderated by the orange ghost Clyde (infamous rival of Pac Man). That last bit is one of my favorite parts of the movie. So inspired to have a Satan character console a dejected Ralph. One rule to watch out for though, if you die in an arcade game you normally don’t inhabit, you can die permanently. When our title character gets over anxious, that’s a threat to not only himself but other important characters like Fix It Felix Jr (Ralph’s adversary), Calhoun (a first person shoot em up military woman) and Ralph’s inadvertent best pal Vanelloppe (the unfortunate glitch of a candy land racing game called “Sugar Rush”).
The jokes are great. The vocal cast of John C Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBryer, Jane Lynch and Alan Tudyk is perfectly assorted, as if the script was written specifically with these performers in mind.
There’s a lesson to be learned because this is a Disney movie after all. It’s a pretty good lesson in knowing to love every thing about yourself, glitches and all. Thankfully, the film does not patronize and melodramatically bash it over your head.
I love the arcade 80s relatability of the games and the settings of games like “Fix It Felix,” “Heroes Duty,” and especially “Sugar Rush,” looking as if ideas from Willy Wonka were swiped and polished to bring chocolate mud puddles, peppermint stick trees, Nesquik quicksand, and stalactites made of Mentos that drop into a lava like pit of diet soda that moltens upon impact.
Soon to come, after Ralph almost broke the arcade, apparently he’ll next break the internet and that sounds endlessly hilarious and fun.