I’m in my early 30′s and like most of you I’m sure, grew up guiding Mario (and Luigi if you were unlucky enough to get controller 2) through a world full of pipes and blocks that gave you coins if you punched them. ***DISCLAIMER: Cinema Judgement Day and I are in no way endorsing this behavior and are not responsible if you go around punching bricks hoping to get a quarter*** If you’re an adult or a kid or an adult with kids or an adult who is still a kid, Wreck-It-Ralph is a nice nostalgic trip back to your childhood of “wasting” sunny days inside (if you asked your parents) trying to master the Zangief 360 Spinning Pile Driver or guiding a cracked-out frog across a busy highway.
The title character (a perfectly cast John C, Reilly) is a Donkey Kong-esque villain who wrecks an apartment building during the day in his game and then attends bad guy group therapy sessions at night. Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer) is Ralph’s nemesis who uses his magic hammer to fix any damage Ralph has done while avoiding the debris he throws. Well, Ralph gets sick of constantly being the bad guy after seeing the apartment tenants throwing a nightly party in honor of Felix’s heroics. He decides to do something to earn their respect and then proceeds to jump games or as the characters call it, “going Turbo” which plays a key point in the plot. All kinds of video game hilarity ensues as he goes from a Halo-type game, “Hero’s Duty” in which you see how the “First Person Shooter” gets treated, to a nod to the Mario Kart games, “Sugar Rush”. Other subtle nods to stuff every gamer has experienced ensue, including a glitching character and the dreaded “OUT OF ORDER” sign, as Ralph tries to prove that he’s a hero to the characters in his game.
Wreck-It-Ralph is FULL of all kinds of cameos from video games and each time you watch it you’ll spot ones you missed before (I’ve seen it 3 times and still see new ones). From Street Fighter to Mortal Kombat (surprisingly, considering it’s a Disney movie) to Joust to Q*Bert to Dig Dug – they cover all the decades. They even cleverly use the famous “Konami Code”. To make things as authentic as possible, the directors even went so far as to get the original voice actors for Ken and Ryu from Street Fighter, though they only have a couple of lines. Interestingly, they first chose the characters they wanted for cameos, then went about getting the licensing fees. Some companies like Nintendo were involved all the way down to how Bowser would hold his coffee cup in the therapy groups.
The voice actors do a stellar job in their roles. In addition to Reilly and McBrayer, Jane Lynch steals the show as the Sergeant in Hero’s Duty who’s tasked with helping Felix find Ralph and fix the damage he’s done. Comedian Sarah Silverman plays a racer in another game Ralph jumps to who helps him see what’s really important.
Wreck-It-Ralph is a fun romp through the fantasy worlds we all grew up in as kids and still fondly remember. My text tone is the coin sound from Super Mario Bros. and when it goes off there’s always at least one person who will go, “Is that?….From Super Mario”? Always makes me smile and Wreck-It-Ralph will do the same for all you who remember when a controller had 2 buttons: an “A” and a “B”. So make sure you SELECT Wreck-It-Ralph and START travelling back to your childhood.
Wreck-It Ralph (Collector’s Edition)
Release Date: 3/5/13
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Screen Format: 2.40:1
Audio: English DTS-HD, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 108 minutes