With a well executed story and brilliant design, Wreck-it Ralph is a highly entertaining colorful adventure for kids and a nostalgic throwback to retro video games for adults.

Ralph (John C. Reilly) is tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer), the “good guy” star of their game who always gets to save the day. But after decades doing the same thing and seeing all the glory go to Felix, Ralph decides he’s tired of playing the role of a bad guy. He takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a game-hopping journey across the arcade through every generation of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero. On his quest, he meets the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty. But it’s the feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, whose world is threatened when Ralph accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens the entire arcade. Will Ralph realize his dream and save the day before it’s too late? — (C) Disney

This Disney animated film has plenty of references to popular video games in the 80’s and 90’s that will keep adults nostalgic and amused. Wreck-it Ralph’s colorful adventure and visual gags provides eye-catching entertainment for the kids.

The game designs are fantastic, from the 8-bit Fix-it Felix to the CGI enhanced Hero’s Duty. Sugar Rush was very detailed, with bright colors used every where from race tracks to an assortment of all the candies you’ve known. Some of the scenes cut to the outside looking in, providing an amusing view of the self aware lives of video game characters.

The characters were rendered well, and the opening scene of the film will easily become a classic. The world they live in was created in a clever way, mirroring the existence of human lives but in a video game.

Ralph’s adventure is held together by a well structured story. As a result, the movie is easy to follow and less contrived. Ralph hops into different games, but the narrative keeps the plot in Sugar Rush, a candy themed racing arcade game. Subplots that emerge along the way were handled well.

The voice actors here are a perfect fit. Sarah Silverman is brilliant as Vanellope, giving the potty mouthed glitch an annoying yet vulnerable quality. John Reilly fits Ralph to a tee, especially with the actor’s experience as an average working class Joe. Jane Lynch is a no-brainer pick for the sergeant. Jack McBrayer is natural as Felix, who resembles his character in 30 Rock.

Audiences who are looking for more than that would be disappointed. Wreck-it Ralph is really just a simple movie that capitalizes on video game cameos. It’s compared to Toy Story, but the characters in Wreck-it Ralph are less engaging except for its lead.

It treads on the same misfit story that we’ve all seen before – they meet, they fight, get back again just in time for the climax, and then a happy ending of finding a true friend who will accept you for who you are.

The movie says that unplugging the video game is equal to an apocalypse. For thirty years, Wreck-it Ralph was never unplugged at all? Wouldn’t their data be saved in the game even if this happened?

Expectations and nitpicking aside, Wreck-it Ralph is a solid movie that parents and kids can enjoy – the former reliving his past childhood, the latter enjoying his present.

My Rating: 8/10

Alternative Movie Poster by Tom Whalen

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