Ralph: I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
When the trailers for this movie came out it was assumed that this movie was supposed to be the Who Framed Roger Rabbit of video games. However whereas the classic cartoons of that movie spread all throughout the movie the classic video game characters were mostly during the first couple of minutes. But what we got overall proved to be an engaging movie with likable story and characters.
The story involves video game villain Wreck-It-Ralph who is tired of being overshadowed by the hero of his game Fix-It-Felix. After years of doing the same thing over and over for decades Ralph decides he’s tired of being a bad guy and wants to be a hero. In his journey he meets Sergeant Calhoun from a first-person action game called Hero’s Duty and a glitch from a racing game called Sugar Rush named Vanellope. However in the process he inadvertently unleashes a threat to the entire arcade. Thus Ralph must achieve his dream and save the day.
At first the story is predictable with Ralph’s desire to be accepted by the people at his game going towards extremes in order to do so. But as the movie continued it would introduce us to some new and interesting characters that keep the story intriguing and would also delve deeper into the arcade world. In doing this the movie would use these aspects to look at the character relationships in order for the audience to connect with them and give the story more depth. An example of this is Ralph’s friendship with Vanellope. Both are entirely different from one another but both have shortcomings in their identity and want to be accepted. This aspect is the heart of the movie and allows it to stand well.
The animation is very creative visually. Each game Ralph enters has its own unique style. In Fix-It-Felix Jr. it’s very much in similar style of Donkey Kong Jr. and looks more simple largely reflecting Ralph’s mere role at the beginning as a villain. The characters move rather quickly similar to how characters in old NES games would move about without much flow. When they show Hero’s Duty the animation is more realistic and detailed in aspects like the armor the players wear given it’s based off a modern first person shooter game. Sugar Rush takes more of a cartoony approach through the character animation, colors, and the fact that a lot of the characters are food. However what sticks out about the animation is that when the characters go into a game that isn’t their own and how the styles of the games can synergize well. The movie takes a variety of simple styles in one film, which really gives it an edge.
Ralph is pretty much your bad guy who wants to be good but what sets him apart is the fact that he genuinely has heart despite being shunned by everyone due to his label and constant destruction. This gives way to some nice character development for him and it makes him likable. Felix is pretty much the superstar of his game and halfway through the movie he falls in love with Calhoun. He’s not the worst character but he’s not the most interesting either. The same can be said for Calhoun who did well in being this tough sergeant in contrast to the rest of the more easy-going characters but didn’t have enough screen time. And sadly the sequel would not expand on either of these aspects. Vanellope is rather immature but also clever. She more or less has the same likability as Ralph in her story of how she is a glitch, considered an outcast, and isn’t allowed to race. The similarities between the two give its way to a very heartfelt bond between the both of them. Finally there’s the villainous King Candy. There’s a twist regarding him that actually works to the movie’s advantage and he has this balance of benevolence yet twisted demeanor to him that make quite developed in his appearance and motives alike.
Wreck-It-Ralph is a movie that has a solid story, unique animation, and impressive characters. It may not be what we expected in it being the Who Framed Roger Rabbit of video games in that there aren’t that many Easter eggs with classic video games but the bond between the main characters and the movie undergoes puts it on relatively the same level.