Director: Rich Moore
Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch
Run Time: 108 minutes
Release: 8th February, 2013
Ralph lives in an arcade video game. Ralph is the bad guy. Ralph attends group therapy with all the other villains to deal with the fact that he doesn’t want to be a bad guy. Ralph decides he wants a medal for doing something good. Ralph takes off into the electronic connections of the arcade world to find a game that will give him a medal. Ralph is essentially every misunderstood Disney hero ever.
The lumbering protagonist of this tale hurls the endearing, sure-to-be-gargantuan success along with the pacing of an epileptic seizure. Fast, furious and effortlessly adorable in segments, Rich Moore’s Pixar-less Disney production racks up every trope that the studio is known for: Ralph (Reilly) has a good heart but is feared by all, except for the would be damsel in distress Venellope Von Schweetz (Silverman). Daring races, nail-biting tension, and a showdown on a mountain ritualistically reassure the audience that yes, you are indeed watching a Disney flick.
That being said, it is the sci-fi originality behind the production that ultimately affords the film its charm. The concept allows almost bottomless originality, as many have already noted. Moreover, this multi-platform extravaganza exhibits the potential to traverse the realms of nearly every genre out there. What Disney seems to have garnered from Pixar is the ability to transcend the ‘Kid Movie’ modus operandi, to a space where concept and design create the film as opposed to romantic clichés. Wreck-It Ralph, like most Pixar handled projects, seems to promote the values of the French Revolution: equality, liberty and fraternity.
And so, the themes of this modernised Disney have become more universal and the high-concepts have transferred by osmosis from Pixar into Disney. Nonetheless, old habits die hard. Ralph casually attempts to push Beauty and the Beast motifs through the screenplay, cautioning the viewer that Disney may have learnt some new tricks, but it is still an old dog.
By the end of the film you are left with that cheesy warmth and tweaked perspective that all truly brilliant kid’s films should leave you with. While the day is won, the foe defeated and all resign to live happily ever after, there is a faint note of tragedy to this animated epic. The glimpse of adventure is spoiled by the destiny of repetition; a concept warmly embraced by the very best in the adventure genre.
Wreck-It Ralph is furiously bright and dangerously jarring, but it is also warm and enlightening. What’s more, we now know that Disney can once again stand on its own two feet without the awkward reliance it had on its far cooler sibling Pixar.