When I first heard about this film, I will admit I was not as enthusiastic as I was after watching this film. After doing Tangled, a take on Rapunzel, I was hoping that Disney would revive its tradition of making classic fairly tales as films. I was saddened when Wreck-it Ralph was not such a take until I saw the first trailer and they showed all the cameos that were in the film.
First off, the voice acting talent chosen for this film were great. Especially Jane Lynch who nailed her character as the tough girl, no nonsense, leader character that she is so well known for. The other voice actors/actresses did their jobs splendidly as well and I have no room for complaints. Now, on to the actual characters. There are a ton of cameos in this film from various other video games including Sonic, Street Fighter, Pac-man, House of the Dead, Super Mario Bros, Q-bert, etc. There were also a ton of characters that were references to various video games, and there were many references to video games and pop-culture overall including a character that looked a lot like Skrillex. Now the actual main characters themselves were thankfully not outright references or cameos. They were original characters with their own designs and back-story although it was apparent that Ralph himself did take some design cues from Donkey Kong. I am thankful that they were original because it would have been easy for the characters to be weighed down by audience expectations if they were just cameos from other games or were obvious references. Also, the originality and personalities of the main characters allowed them to stand out enough that they were not drowned out by all the references and cameos thrown in the movie. The main characters were strong enough to carry the movie on its own.
The art of this film was fantastic. The models of the various video game cameos and references were spot on. It was amazing the amount of devotion the various video games featured in the film got. Disney even went as far as to make scenes where there were 8-bit graphics for older games. The attention to detail was amazing. There were references and cameos everywhere you looked in the film. The small touches to the models and textures were especially nice. For example, when there are cake stains on Ralph, the stain shape is blocky and 8-bit-esque. The animations of the apartment dwellers in Ralph’s game had jerky animation and transitions between poses just like an 8-bit game would. When Ralph jumps between games, each game is like a whole different and unique world and it was obvious that Disney’s artists were not lazy at all even for a single frame. Just like past Pixar and Walt Disney Animation studios work, we can see that Disney has improved on their animation technology further with textures and models being more detailed, and particle effects are more fine-grained and fluid.
Considering how many references and disparate game worlds there are in this film, I did not expect a plot that tied things together to be the strongest point of the film. In fact, I did not expect the plot to be that original at all. To an extent, this was true. This is a standard plot about characters discovering themselves, a father-daughter relationship that is developed and a basic romance thread. However, the plot did offer a twist that genuinely caught me off guard. It also ran 3 plots in parallel that eventually came together towards the end of the film. Despite having 3 plots in parallel, Disney did not stumble when presenting them at the same time. Things were coherent, it did not feel like one plot was rushed or another lingered on a certain event for too long, it all just felt right. I am genuinely impressed by Disney’s ability to prevent the plot from being drowned out by the weight of sticking all these references into a film. It really is a throwback to the old days when films that were targeted more towards children also had enough content and references in them that adults could enjoy them as well.
Overall Score: 8.8 / 10