Disney’s WRECK-IT RALPH sets everything up perfectly. It started by establishing an interesting world where video game characters live in their own world at the arcade. Then it focused on a lead character the audience could get behind in Wreck-It Ralph; a “bad guy” that just wants to be appreciated for what he contributes. When he decided to break out of his video game and go visit other games in search of his hero status, I was excited to see where this was all going to take us. But it didn’t take us very far and Ralph quickly found himself in the game Sugar Rush and the movie is basically handed over to Venellope, which is where my interest started to wane.
The message somewhere in WRECK-IT RALPH is that being a good person comes from inside and not through a shiny medal. In order to achieve that, the filmmakers needed a catalyst for Ralph to realize what being a true hero really meant. That’s where Venellope comes in. I liked the idea of her being a computer glitch trying to become part of the game, but her storyline went on too long and she became the main character. I kept wanting to get back to Ralph and see more of him struggling outside of his game. His interactions with other video game characters were hilarious and ended up being the highlight of the film. That leads us to the other issue, which is that we only get to see three game worlds; Fix-It Felix, Hero’s Duty and Sugar Rush. In the world of video games, even the casual fan can imagine all the different possibilities. We needed to spend more time with Ralph as he explored the different worlds and less time with him running through Sugar Rush. I don’t want to rewrite the script for writers Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee, but putting Ralph in Sugar Rush was the downfall of the film.
There were positives for WRECK-IT RALPH. The film was very cute and colorful, perfect for the youngsters in the audience. And even if it didn’t come through in the most efficient manner, the overall message of the film is very positive, which is important in films catered to children. John C. Reilly did great voice-work as Ralph, making me wonder why he hasn’t voiced a lead animated character before. The animation was breathtaking, proving that Disney doesn’t always need Pixar to create beautiful films.
The filmmakers did the hard part of establishing a cool world with an interesting character, but if they had focused the story on something outside of a specific video game world and given him an excuse to run through the different games, it would have made WRECK-IT RALPH much more enjoyable. As it is, WRECK-IT RALPH is a passable kid’s movie that neither impresses nor disappoints. I liked picking out the various cameos from recognizable video game characters, but the nostalgia of the film couldn’t make up for the film’s shortcomings.
I feel like I write the same thing every time I review a Disney 3D Blu-ray, but it bears repeating; Disney makes incredible 3D Blu-rays. WRECK-IT RALPH is no exception and the argument could be made that this is their best 3D feature yet. The depth is incredible and the 3D effects are eye-popping, but not in that gimmicky way. Overall, this is a great 3D experience.
Video: WRECK-IT RALPH looks pristine, even in regular 2D Blu-ray.
Audio: The audio is equally impressive.
Paperman: Theatrical Short (7:01): If you missed this recent Oscar-winning short in theaters, now’s your chance to catch it in 3D or 2D. It’s cute and sweet, like most Pixar shorts.
Bit by Bit: Creating the Worlds of Wreck-It Ralph (16:58): The filmmakers show up to talk about the design and creation of WRECK-IT RALPH in a very informative featurette that is moderately enjoyable, but stays on the superficial side of things. This obviously isn’t meant for die-hard technical fans.
Alternate & Deleted Scenes (14:03 minutes): There are four deleted/alternate scenes total, all of which I think would fit seamlessly into the film. You can watch them with an introduction from director Rich Moore, along with his commentary if you’d like.
Video Game Commercials (2:57): Four separate promos for games within WRECK-IT RALPH. These are actually pretty cute.
Disney Intermission (10:01): When you pause WRECK-IT RALPH, you can watch Chris Hardwick talk about the jokes and references sprinkled throughout the film.