Wreck-It Ralph Great Fun for the Family
Wreck-It Ralph is great for both parents and kids, with parents loving their favorite old time game references and kids loving the new games that they can then go home and play at Disney.com.
Wreck-It Ralph trailer:
Back in 1992 when Disney first released Aladdin in theaters, I didn’t really understand why there were so many adult jokes in the movie. It was a kids movie, why was Robin Williams cracking jokes that me and my friends all found hysterical? Wouldn’t the entire thing go over kids heads?
It took me a while before I understood that that was precisely what they were aiming for because when you market a movie to families, you have to draw in not just the kids, but the parents too.
Wreck-It Ralph does this not only with jokes, but with premise and content. In the trailer, which was a piece of marketing genius, it immediately attracts kids with the animation and the cute colorful characters but also draws in parents who look at it and say, “Hey, that’s Zangeif from Street Fighter!” or “Hey that’s Bowser from Mario!”. And really, what parent over the age of 30 didn’t crack up laughing when the Pac-Man ghost freaked out and went blue when Ralph declared he didn’t want to be a bad guy anymore? I know I was sold at that instant.
The movie starts out with Ralph (John C. Reilly) taking us through his life with the people of Niceland and Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer) having it made while he literally lives down in the dumps and is never thanked for the work he does. They live inside of arcade games and once the kids go home and the lights go out, they’re free to do as they please. Their line of work is to simply play the parts of their games for “the gamers” that come and play them. All of them live in fear that one day their game will be unplugged and they’d be homeless, forced to beg in Game Central Station like poor little Q-bert and friends. (note the hilarious “will npc in fps 4 food” sign and Zangief walking in the background with Chun-Li)
After a day’s work in Fix-It Felix, Jr., Ralph is at a Bad Guys Anonymous meeting pouring his heart out over the woes of his life. He lives in the Niceland dump, just like in the game. The people of Niceland really don’t like him, just like in the game. Only unlike in the game, Ralph isn’t really a bad guy, he’s just treated like one. He’s never eaten cake, never received a medal, and on the 30th anniversary of Fix-It Felix, Jr., he sees the other residents partying it up… without him.
After a disastrous attempt to socialize with them, Ralph ends up drowning his sorrows in Tapper’s pub (yet another old game reference) where he meets a half crazed soldier mumbling about killing bugs. In a moment of weakness, he strips the soldier of his armor and heads into Hero’s Duty, a violent FPS game where the soldiers fight off legions of bug-like aliens under the command of a hard-hearted blonde woman named Calhoun (Jane Lynch). After blowing the game in fear, the soldiers take off for a break until the next “quarter alert”, leaving Ralph to climb the tower and take the medal meant for gamers. When he steps on an alien Cy-Bug egg and activates it, all hell breaks loose and he and one of the Cy-Bugs end up rocketing out of Hero’s Duty and into Sugar Rush, setting into motion a tragic series of events for both Sugar Rush and Fix It Felix, Jr.
Once in Sugar Rush land, Ralph meets little Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a glitch who can’t leave the game and dreams of racing with the other girls of Sugar Rush. She steals Ralph’s medal and uses it to enter the race, which according to King Candy, must never happen.
A couple of downsides are present, but aren’t too bad so as to bring the movie down. For one, the villain of the movie is a bit scary looking and my 8 year-old daughter was a bit taken aback by him. The twist to the story was a little difficult for my two little ones to follow, but should hopefully be no problem for kids slightly older (10+). Boys may end up bored by the sudden switch from the cool dystopian space game of Hero’s Duty to the icky sweet world of Sugar Rush.
Overall, the movie was well done throughout with everything seeming age appropriate for kids and being highly entertaining for adults. The best part about it for my kids was being able to go home and go to Disney’s website and actually play the three main games in the movie: Fix-It Felix, Jr., Hero’s Duty, and Sugar Rush. My entire family thoroughly enjoyed themselves and to me that’s definitely a sign of a successful family film.