We've seen many films recently about a villain as the protagonist. In fact, two wonderful animated films did it brilliantly in the past - Despicable Me (2010) and Megamind (2010). Is Wreck-It Ralph any different from those films? The good news is that it is. It isn't about a villain wanting to be a hero, it's about more. The fact that it doesn't take place on earth and inside a bunch of arcade video games adds to the fun. The bad news? It doesn't exactly have â€œthatâ€, if you know what I mean. That bit of extra something, which takes us by complete surprise. Then again, there isn't any bad news as such, since it is a perfectly enjoyable animated film.
Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the antagonist of the game Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer voices Felix). Ralph involuntarily destroys everything that comes in his way. He is programmed that way. Felix, on the other hand, fixes everything his hammer touches. The plot of the film involves Ralph abandoning his game and game-jumping to other games to prove himself a hero. Ultimately he lands up meeting Venellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) who resides in this game called Sugar Rush. She is, apparently, a glitch in the game.
If you don't like sappy saccharine on film, it would difficult for you to connect with the riches of this film. This relationship is the pivot of the film. I'm more of a fan of the 8-bit video games. Those were the actual video games where violence was not why we played them. (Ralph enters Hero's Duty and also comments on the violent nature of it). If I were given a choice to play Pac-Man or Hero's Duty, I'd go for Pac-Man. Clearly; this is my kind of video game movie and not Resident Evil. I also loved the sub plot involving Felix and Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch), the dynamite gal from Hero's Duty. The art design of the film is excellent. From the little Oreo guards to the Nesquick-sand, there are minor touches which make the film uniquely refreshing. The 3D while being gimmicky, has been used appropriately.
I must admit the film isn't a total success, as there came a point where I was completely indifferent to what was happening on screen. This happened to be the climax involving a car race. It is not a cop out but it could have been a little original. The third act is crucial for a film to be in Pixar territory or camp out with the rest of the crop. Although, the actual ending pulls the appropriate heartstrings and is salvaged from being ordinary. There is one dialogue Ralph says about how he sees Venellope after they return to their respective games, which is abundantly cheesy but so emotionally effective that it made the film for me. Wreck-It Ralph may not be a triumph but it sure is worth watching.