Apparently it’s not just the toys of Toy Story that have adventures when we humans aren’t around. When an arcade has closed for the night, the video game characters come to life in this bright, fun animated movie from Disney.
Unfortunately, Ralph (Reilly) – the cuddly large-fisted villain of game Wreck-It Ralph – doesn’t particularly like his life. He spends all day smashing up a building (which is endlessly mended by game good guy Fix-It Felix) but then spends his evenings alone while all the other characters in the game get together and have a party without him. Deciding he has to win a gold medal to make his fellow pixelated people like him, Ralph decides to do the unthinkable and leave his own game and enter another to win a grand prize.
Ralph’s journey first takes him to a sci-fi war game that forces him to cross paths with tough Sergeant Calhoun (Lynch) and then onto the cuter (and very pink) racing game Sugar Rush, where he meets wannabe racer Vanellope (Silverman), who is a computer ‘glitch’ so not allowed to compete. Unfortunately, one of the nasty aliens from the first game hitches a ride to the second, and it soon looks like Ralph has caused a lot more damage than even he does in his normal game.
The world director Rich Moore and his writers and animators have created for Ralph is a terrific one, from the support group Ralph attends at the beginning (for bad guys from games who really want to be loved and understood) to Game Central Station – a sort of city where classic video game characters can travel from game to game. It’s all deliciously clever (they all board trains that run along the power cables that go into the back of each arcade game) and packed with in-jokes and sight gags aimed at parents who remember classic games, as well as kids seeing them for the first time.
With some great voice characterisations from Reilly, Lynch, McBrayer and Silverman, this is another enjoyable offering from Disney animation. It does sag a bit in the middle when Ralph arrives in Sugar Rush – there’s less inventiveness, puns and wit here – but things pick up towards the climactic end and younger viewers who fall for Ralph will be on the edge of their seats hoping our burly hero can save the day.
Is Wreck-It Ralph suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Very young children may find the war game aliens a little scary and worry when Vanellope is in danger. Children aged 6 and over should be fine.