WRECK-IT Ralph ***
Certificate – PG
Running Time: 120 minutes
Directed by: Rich Moore
Starring: John C Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch
HE’S not bad, he’s just programmed that way! That’s the problem facing Ralph, the video game villain tired of being the villain who sets out to change his programming and become a hero, in Disney’s latest animated feature Wreck-It Ralph.
Directed by Rich Moore, who has worked on both The Simpsons and Futurama, the American takes helm of Walt Disney’s ambitious project that has been in development since the 1980s.There’s a strong cast lending their vocal talents to the feature, With John C Reilly supplying the voice of aforementioned Ralph, Jack McBrayer and Sarah Silverman also feature with Jane Lynch on top form as the tough-talking space marine Calhoun, whose character is programmed with the saddest back story ever.
Ralph finds it hard to be the bad guy, after all he’s just doing his job, tired of being treated like the bad guy he finally rebels and abandons his game, embarking on a journey across various computer games to become a hero. On his journey he meets the glitchy character Vanellope Von Schweetz, voiced by Silverman. Like Ralph she has aspirations seemingly beyond her programming and the two form an unlikely friendship.
For year’s Pixar Studios have dominated the animated genre, with their mix of fantastic storytelling and beautiful animation. Wreck-It Ralph shares a similar concept to Pixar’s classic Toy Story, with the notion that when we aren’t’ around the computer game characters come to life, carrying on with their day-to-day lives. Sadly the film’s screenplay just isn’t to the same standard of Pixar’s creation, the story felt a little rushed with simply too much going on within its narrative.
But the film’s greatest triumph is its lush beautiful visuals, capturing the essence and magic of computer games beautifully. From the way the 8-bit characters move onscreen, to the vivid landscapes that feel wonderfully retro, accompanied by Henry Jackman’s arcade-game inspired score. Eagle-eyed viewers will also notice several cameos by iconic computer game characters and there’s several references to some classic arcade games as Ralph game-hops from one game to another.
The film might not have been everything I’d hoped for, it would have been almost impossible to live up to the promise of its brilliant concept. The film’s sweet-nature and stunning visuals earned it enough good grace to carry it through. While the feature might lack the storytelling craft of a Pixar creation, there’s enough on display to entertain viewers, both young and old.
As Hollywood continues to bleed comic books dry for ideas for feature films, it’s not surprising that producers are shifting to computer games for cinematic inspiration. Various films based on games are already in production, including Assassins Creed, Hitman and World of Warcraft. Wreck-It Ralph might just be the first in a long line of a new cinematic trend.
Review By William McClean