Wreck-it Ralph 3D

Directed by: Rich Moore

Starring:  John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Mindy Kaling, Ed O’Neill

In a week jammed with diverse and exciting releases such as Flight and The Man With The Iron Fists, I chose lighter fare this weekend and opted to review Wreck-it Ralph in 3D.  How could I go wrong when the trailer for the film included a support group filled with some of the most notorious villains in video game history?  When I saw villains from Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, Streetfighter, and Resident Evil, I knew I had to see this film.  With lovable characters, a heap of nostalgia and a positive message, Wreck-It Ralph delivers the goods.

Wreck-it Ralph is set in an arcade.  When the arcade closes, the characters in the video games come to life.  The characters have created an alternate video game universe where they are able to move through games in what can best be described as a subway ride through electrical power cords.  Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the villain in a video game called Fix-it Felix.  He destroys an apartment building and threatens the people living inside the building.  Fix-it Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer) is the hero and fixes all of the wreckage and saves the day.  (Imagine Donkey Kong and Mario).  After 30 years of being a bad guy, Ralph feels empty.  He lives all alone in a pile of junk while all of the other characters in his game are friends and live in a nice penthouse.  Ralph realizes that as long as he is labeled “the bad guy,” he will always be lonely, on the outside looking in.

Ralph decides to try to win a medal in another video game so that he can gain the respect of his peers in Fix-It Felix.  He sneaks into a fighting game and gets a medal, much to the chagrin of the other soldiers in the game, namely Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch).  However, he gets in over his head and is accidentally launched into another game, Sugar Rush.  In the Sugar Rush racing game, Ralph meets a computer glitch Vanellope (Sarah Silverman).  She’s a sarcastic and fun-loving kid racer who is not that dissimilar from Ralph.  The rest of the film follows Vanellope and Ralph as they join forces to defeat the evil King Candy (Alan Tudyk), and ultimately overcome their individual personal struggles.

Wreck-it Ralph is a cute movie.  The premise is fun and as someone who has played video games on systems from Atari to Nintendo to Sega Genesis to PS3, I couldn’t help but smile to see some of my favorite video game characters gliding around on the big screen.  In addition, the filmmakers did a fantastic job with the animation.  The animated characters physically favored the actors who were providing the voiceovers.  Vanellope looked like an adorable child version of Sarah Silverman and Fix-it Felix, Jr. was pretty much an animated version of McBrayer’s Kenneth from 30 Rock.

Probably the biggest flaw in the film is that the premise of Wreck-it Ralph is akin to Toy Story, but with video game characters coming to life instead of toys.  Unfortunately, the Toy Story trilogy was an original and was fused with such depth that it really stands alone in the world of animation.  Wreck-it Ralph simply pales in comparison.  Moreover, the 3D filming did not add anything to the film.  The 3D special effects were not particularly impressive, and frankly I wish I had just seen the film in a regular theater.

With all of that being said, Wreck-it Ralph earns a strong .06 rating.  Take the kids to see this one, but don’t pay the extra money for 3D.