The hallmark of a Disney film is the heart and it’s the foundation of Wreck-It Ralph. It is one of the funniest films I’ve ever been associated with – so clever and beautiful. But it’s the heart that just catches you by surprise – John Lasseter, Executive Producer
Earlier this week, I sat in our local movie theater, slightly giddy about the film we were about to see. It hadn’t been that long since I saw Disney’s latest animated film, Wreck-It Ralph, but in many ways I was more excited to see it with my family because I knew they would be pleasantly surprised.
From the trailers, you know that the film is inspired by the arcade. What I wasn’t expecting was how tender and heartwarming the story is. When I initially heard Disney was creating a film about gaming, I immediately imagined the focus being on playing those games. But as I would expect, Disney artistically went beyond that perspective to immerse audiences in the worlds of those arcade games.
It’s the 30 year anniversary of retro arcade game Fix-It Felix Jr., and bad guy Ralph is tired of playing the role of the “wrecker” who gets thrown off the building once Felix repairs the windows he has broken. If life “outside” of the video game were different, Ralph might not be feeling so destitute. But when Ralph sees fireworks exploding off the top of the building and he realizes that everyone is celebrating without him, he decides that it’s time for a change…a change that will only be realized by winning a medal.
Convinced that this the key to a better life, Ralph sets out on a journey across the arcade through various video games to prove to himself and the arcade world that he is a hero. Each of the four worlds depicted in the film are incredibly unique and feel very different, which was exactly what the filmmakers were aiming for. Hero’s Duty, the first world Ralph ends up in, is a modern first person shooter game, the enemies which become significant as the story progresses. Ralph eventually ends up in Sugar Rush, a sugary sweet kart racing game where a large part of the film takes place. It is here that Ralph meets Vanellope, a “glitch” and an outcast in her own game. The two of them meet and become friends, bound by their mutual desire to prove that each are more than the sum of their programming. When the entire arcade is threatened by Ralph’s inadvertent mistake, it will be up to him to step up to the plate and prove whether or not he truly is a hero.
Visually, the film is spectacular. Each of the characters come to life and have distinct personalities, yet their movements are still very much reminiscent of a video game. The intricacies of how the characters get across the arcade is fascinating and an incredible creative work of the filmmakers. The worlds are vibrant and feel very realistic…as if anyone could step inside.
Disney typically creates films that appeal to a wide range of audiences and never was that more true than in Wreck-It Ralph. Children will love the visual aesthetic of the film and the characters, while adults will appreciate the tenderness of the story and the clever humor. Anyone who loves video games will appreciate the numerous cameos (how many can you spot?).
Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph is in theaters nationwide.
No compensation was received for this post. I was invited to screen the film which helped facilitate this post.