Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Wreck-It Ralph

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Ralph and Vanellope are well voiced by John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman. Photo / Supplied
Ralph and Vanellope are well voiced by John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman. Photo / Supplied

A collection of colourful arcade game characters provide harmless and boisterous entertainment in this animated film that takes us inside the digital world of arcade games and the lives of the game characters.

The film takes place entirely within the virtual world of an arcade, where retro games like Pacman sit beside games with modern action heroes and sophisticated car racing. When the customers have gone and the working day is over, the game characters relax and travel around via Game Grand Station, which links the games together through the electronic cabling.

Some of the game characters feel trapped by the roles they have to play - in particular, Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly). He's the bad guy in the old school-style game Fix-it Felix, using his oversized hands to destroy a building while the hero Felix (McBrayer) fixes the building to win a medal. When the game is over, Wreck-It Ralph is still treated by the other characters as the bad guy and they don't want him around.

Understandably, Ralph is frustrated at being typecast and misunderstood. When a Bad Guy Support Group offers little consolation, Ralph believes he has no option but to go rogue, gatecrashing other games to become the hero he wants to be. His first port of call is Hero's Duty, where he volunteers to fight virus-like bugs so he can win a medal, but instead of becoming a hero he sets in motion events which may bring the whole arcade crashing down.

From here it's a rollercoaster ride, from the aggressive action of Hero's Duty thorough to the eye-popping, curvaceous and candy visuals of cart racing game Sugar Rush. The animation at times overwhelms the story, which really kicks into gear when Ralph develops a friendship with another misfit and outsider, the gutsy little glitch Vanellope von Schweetz (Silverman) from Sugar Rush.

Wreck-It Ralph feels a little like a mash-up of Toy Story, Tron and Shrek, but though ideas and situations feel familiar, thanks to the fabulous voices, chosen because of their suitability to the character rather than A-list celebrity appeal, this film offers something a little bit original.

Stars: 4.5/5
Cast: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman
Director: Rich Moore
Running time: 108 mins
Rating: PG (low level violence)
Verdict: Big, bold, colourful entertainment for the whole family

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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