Wreck-It Ralph comes to home video on Tuesday, March 5. I enjoyed the film when I saw it in the theater, and I enjoyed it even more at home. Now that I knew the twists and surprises, I could concentrate on the detail that makes the video game world so entertaining. (I previously posted the trailer in case you’d like a reminder of the movie’s premise.) It’s a great film that works for both kids and adults (especially those who remember arcade games).
Poor Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) has been cast as the bad guy. His important role is to provide the conflict and give the others, particularly Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) (and through him, the player), a feeling of accomplishment. He’s so frustrated about it, though, that he ends up living down to the limited role others restrict him to. His emotions hit him so hard they cause him to overact, thus justifying the “regular folks” shunning him. Anyone who’s wondered what it would be like to be popular and beloved but feeling uncomfortable in their own skin can relate to Ralph.
On the 30th anniversary of his game, after once again being rejected, Ralph decides to try something different. He focuses on the idea of gaining a medal to prove his value. This leads him into the overwhelming military shooter game “Hero’s Duty”, where he meets Sgt. Calhoun (Jane Lynch).
After a series of misadventures, he winds up in the candy-themed racing game “Sugar Rush”.
There, he meets Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), who’s got her own quest to prove her skills in spite of King Candy (surprisingly, Alan Tudyk, doing an excellent Ed Wynn imitation) and her condition of having a “glitch”.
One of the neat things about this movie is how all four of the main characters I’ve mentioned have development arcs, where the abilities they may have bemoaned wind up helping. Also outstanding is the casting, with the on-screen characters resembling their actors, who were great choices for the various roles.
The idea of everyone getting together from all the arcade games after hours is a classic one, previously most often imagined with physical toys, but translated here into a meeting place accessible through electric circuits. I’m glad all the various game property owners got with the appeal and feeling of the movie to allow the Pac-Man ghost and the Mario Bowser Koopa to appear in the Bad Guys meeting, for example.
The animators did a terrific job making Felix’s expressions resemble McBrayer’s, especially during the awkward party scene. And then there are the in-jokes, as when the various candies gather to watch the final race. It’s all those goofy bits that make it so enjoyable, even multiple times through. Plus, I find the interaction between Felix and Calhoun wonderful to watch. See a little of it here:
It’s a heartwarming movie that, in spite of the candy world, isn’t too sugary. Since it’s Disney, it even includes a princess! Mostly, I like the way that everyone comes to recognize the good in themselves and others.
The extras are slight but entertaining. Owning Paperman is itself enough for me.
Paperman (6 1/2 minutes) — Gorgeous. Deservedly won the Oscar. This is how you tell a love story, with determination and wonder and curiosity and magic. And it shows how effective (and universal) wordless storytelling can be. I love the style, where you can see the pencil lines yet it’s still got the smoothness of CGI. I found myself noticing, this time through, the antique details, such as the 40s cars and the old-fashioned train doors and the men’s suits and ladies’ hats.
The Gamer’s Guide to Wreck-It Ralph — A Blu-ray exclusive. Press pause and Chris Hardwick shows up in 10 different clips to point out Easter eggs and other trivia. Cute, but we couldn’t figure out how to actually pause the movie without seeing him when we wanted to see the credits.
Bit by Bit: Creating the Worlds of Wreck-It Ralph (16 1/2 minutes) — Director Rich Moore and his team talk about their video game nostalgia and the design inspirations for the movie.
Alternate and Deleted Scenes (14 1/2 minutes) — Four deleted scenes, plus an introduction by the director. You can watch them with or without commentary by him.
Video Game Commercials (2 1/2 minutes) — Four fake ads for the games shown in the movie.
They apparently weren’t able to find a way to get the best movie extra, playing the Fix-It Felix game itself, on the disc. (The studio provided a review copy.)