Wreck-It Ralph Review
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I grew up during the Arcade Era—that long-ago time when kids spent their time (and their hard-earned quarters) hanging out at the dimly-lit arcade at the mall. Those were the years of Pac-Man and Donkey Kong—of Frogger and Centipede. Back then, video game characters were fun and whimsical—not to mention adorably pixilated—just like the characters in Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph.

Wreck-It Ralph tells the story of a lonely video game villain (voiced by John C. Reilly) who’s spent the last 30 years being a bad guy. Day after day, he’s shattered windows and broken walls, only to watch Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer) fix them all with his magic hammer. Then, after the arcade closes for the night, Felix goes home with a shiny gold medal, while Ralph spends another night alone in the dump.

  
 
After Ralph fails to get invited to the game’s 30th anniversary party, he decides that the only way to gain acceptance is to prove his worth to the others—so he leaves his game and sets out to win a medal of his own. In doing so, however, he unwittingly unleashes a deadly virus that could destroy every game in the arcade.

Wreck-It Ralph may look like a kids’ movie, but while kids will find themselves caught up in a fun-filled world of building-busting bad guys and sugar-coated go-kart racing, parents will find themselves led on a trip down Memory Lane, reconnecting with beloved icons of their old arcade days. After all, the games in the arcade are a mix of the old and the new. There are pixilated old favorites like Pac-Man and Q*bert, animated in colorful, cartoony style (complete with jerky movements), while new-style games are given more life-like renderings. It’s all cleverly, creatively done—and the games (and their characters) are all brought together in an imaginative world where old characters and new ones alike can travel from game to game through the arcade’s power cords.

Of course, the classic characters merely make cameos in the film. But the new characters are just as delightful—not to mention flawlessly cast. Reilly couldn’t be better as the lovably bumbling villain—a bigger-than-average Joe who’s just doing his job. Sarah Silverman, meanwhile, is surprisingly adorable as Ralph’s new friend, Vanellope von Schweetz. And who could be better suited to voice a tough sci-fi Sergeant than Jane Lynch?

The film’s greatest glitch, then, is its rather bloated runtime. Instead of coming to a close at a manageable 90 minutes, the story rambles and meanders for nearly two hours. It’s definitely longer than necessary—and it tends to drag a bit at times.

Fortunately, though, the cute characters and their whimsical world will still hold audiences’ attention. Along with an action-packed story and some inspired animation, they make Wreck-It Ralph an imaginative animated caper that’s sure to entertain video game lovers of all ages.


Blu-ray 3D Review:
It may not have won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, but Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph is still a must-see for anyone who fondly remembers the classic arcade games of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

When you pick up a copy of the film’s four-disc 3D release, you’ll also get an Oscar-winning short as an added bonus. Paperman, the charming short film that accompanied Wreck-It Ralph when it showed theatrically, is included in every format: 3D, Blu-ray, and DVD.

Most of film’s extras, however, are only available on the 2D disc. These include a making-of feature, called Bit By Bit, which explores the various worlds of Wreck-It Ralph and discusses the challenges that animators faced in creating each one. There are five alternate/deleted scenes (in various states of completion), with an optional (but interesting) commentary track, which discusses more of the filmmaking (and editing) process. And the disc also includes clever commercials for each of the film’s three main games: Fix-It Felix Jr., Sugar Rush, and Hero’s Duty.

While the bonus features menu does have a few worthwhile extras, old-school gamers won’t want to miss the Disney Intermission. Pause the film, and you’ll be treated to all kinds of information about the geeky gamer Easter eggs that hidden throughout the movie (hosted by Chris Hardwick, who isn’t nearly as funny as he thinks he is). If you’re not interested in the intermission, you can turn it off on the disc’s set-up menu (a new feature with this release), but gamers and Disney geeks alike will find themselves continuously pausing the film, just to find out more about its hidden gems.


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