Visually ambitious and packed with inside jokes for arcade gamers, this colourful animated adventure is an enjoyable romp but is probably too energetic for its own good. It simply never settles down so that we can sink into its various settings or get to know its lively characters. So in the end we've enjoyed the talent of the animators and the vocal cast, but we feel rather exhausted.
The story is set in a vintage 1980s arcade game called Fix-it Felix Jr, in which Felix (voiced by McBrayer) must repair damage inflicted by Ralph's (Reilly)massive fists. But after 30 years, Ralph is tired of being the unloved villain. He wants to be the good guy for a change, so heads across the room into another game, the combat role-play adventure Hero's Duty. There he's trained by tough-talking squadron leader Calhoun (Lynch) and battles space insects to win a medal and escape. But a killer bug follows him into the candy-themed road-race game Sugar Rush, threatening the balance of the whole arcade.
The majority of the plot takes place here, as Ralph teams up with unloved "glitch" Vanellope to challenge the smiling tyrant King Candy (Tudyk). Unlike the pixellated Fix-it Felix Jr and the virtual reality of Hero's Duty, Sugar Rush is a pink-hued, delicious-looking land of sugary treats. Each of these games, and the transfer station between them, is populated by spirited characters with their own subplots. And there are also appearances by iconic favourites such as Pac-Man, Mario and Q*bert. So with the different animation styles and eclectic ensemble of characters, our eyes aren't bored for a second.
On the other hand, all of this mayhem wears us down, as scenes never settle in long enough for us to get a sense of who these characters are. At least the animators and actors add plenty of detail, with Reiley giving a terrific sense of inner life to Ralph and Lynch stealing her scenes with all the best lines ("I have the most tragic back-story ever!"). And each scene is packed with clever word-play and visual gags that feel subversive even if it's all rather ridiculous. But in the end, it's also just deranged enough to keep us laughing, and sweet enough to make us sigh.
Run time: 101 mins
In Theaters: Friday 2nd November 2012
Box Office USA: $189.4M
Box Office Worldwide: $471.2M
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Production compaines: Walt Disney Animation Studios
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 145 Rotten: 23
IMDB: 7.8 / 10
Director: Rich Moore
Producer: Clark Spencer
Screenwriter: Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee
Starring: John C. Reilly as Wreck-It Ralph, Jane Lynch as Sergeant Calhoun, Sarah Silverman as Vanellope von Schweetz, Jack McBrayer as Fix-It Felix, Jamie Elman as Rancis Fluggerbutter, Adam Carolla as Wynnchel, Alan Tudyk as King Candy, Mindy Kaling as Taffyta Muttonfudge, Joe Lo Truglio as Markowski, Ed O'Neill as Mr. Litwak, Dennis Haysbert as General Hologram, Edie McClurg as Mary, Jess Harnell as Don, Rachael Harris as Deanna, Skylar Astin as Roy, Roger Craig Smith as Sonic the Hedgehog, Kyle Hebert as Ryu, Reuben Langdon as Ken Masters, Gerald C. Rivers as M. Bison, Maurice LaMarche as Tapper, John DiMaggio as Beard Papa, Rich Moore as Zangief
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