There are worlds that exist that I never thought I'd ever see collide but then do in weird circumstances and end in very enjoyable pieces of entertainment. David Bowe singing Christmas songs with Bing Crosby was wonderful. Any combination of hip hop and rock on a Girl Talk album is fantastic. Add to that list the world of The Simpsons and the magical world of Disney. Director Rich Moore is steeped in the best years of The Simpsons, Futurama and The Critic. I always viewed these shows as counter-culture to the wholesome Disney image and that combining them would be like oil and vinegar. Thankfully, Disney got out of Moore's way and allowed Wreck-It Ralph to become a nerd's new favorite film.
Growing up in the '80s and '90s gave me an appreciation for the arcade and early home video games. You can tell that this was the same world the creators of Wreck-It Ralph grew up in because their eye for detail is great. The story involves an unhappy bad guy for an arcade game called Fix-It Felix who leaves his video game to try to become a good guy in other video games. If you think that sounds kind of similar to the plot of Toy Story, you're right but overlooking that aspect, it really is an original movie.
John C. Reilly (Step Brothers, Chicago) and Sarah Silverman star and really own the film. Both of them are spectacular doing voice work, especially Silverman. It's hard to believe that such a crude comedien can so masterfully pull off the voice work of a little girl named Vanellope who dwells in a girlie's racing game called Sugar Rush. It's not just them that make the movie worth seeing though. The co-stars are Jane Lynch (Glee, Best in Show) and Jack McBrayer (30 Rock, Talledega Nights) do a great job of not annoying. Both of them have run their course as one-trick ponies but managed to get me to enjoy despite still playing their same old character. Most impressively is the cast of voice actors who are buried and unrecognizable that include such heavy hitters as Ed O'Neil (Modern Family), Joe Lo Truglio (The State, Wanderlust), Rachel Harris (Hangover, A Mighty Wind) and best of all is the mega talented Alan Tudyk (Serenity, Death at a Funeral).
Wreck-It Ralph does such a good job servicing gaming nerds with details and homages (such as the manager of the arcade being modeled after Walter Day, founder of Twin Galaxies) that most of it's lost on anyone under the age of 16. The first act features so many references and characters from classic games that it's gonna take a couple views to get them all. It's really fun to watch Ralph interact with famous video game baddies, even ones that were infamous for their graphic violence like Mortal Kombat. This is just part of the edginess that Moore brings to Disney and it either went under Disney executives' radar (doubtful) or they let it go by because they knew what kind of movie they were making.
It's still a film for kids and kids will still enjoy it but I'd say most of the jokes will be over their heads. It's a movie that made the adults in the theater laugh a lot more than any kids. Realizing that, there are chunks that obviously are pandering to the kids in silliness or mindless slapstick but you can't get upset at that considering that it's a movie for kids before it's a movie for adults. You can tell that Pixar's prince, John Lasseter, was on board as a Producer because appealing to both demographics is someting he's mastered and because of that, Wreck-It Ralph is totally worth the price of admission. Bring your quarters! Wreck-It Ralph (Rated PG)
Gavin Grade: B+