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Wreck-It Ralph longs to be as beloved as his game's perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix. Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy. But they do love heroes... so when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun, Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan -- win a medal -- but soon wrecks everything, and accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade.
For more about Wreck-It Ralph and the Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray release, see Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on February 18, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: John C. Reilly, Alan Tudyk, Jane Lynch, Ed O'Neill, Jack McBrayer, Sarah Silverman
Director: Rich Moore
» See full cast & crew
Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray Review
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, February 18, 2013
How is it that no one has thought to green-light an animated film like Wreck-It Ralph before now? Videogames have long been a cultural institution, and 8-bit and 16-bit gaming have been winsomely retro for more than a decade. Has it really taken so many years for studio heads and filmmakers weened on Nintendo and Sega to come of age? Did no one in power realize videogames offered a veritable treasure trove of cameos, genres, worlds, references, easter eggs, gags and, above all, untapped, multi-generational potential? Has everyone who's breathed the words "arcade" or "gaming" in a pitch meeting been hushed or summarily dismissed? Or were previous forays into such prospects so uninspiring that they were abandoned early on? Whatever the case, Wreck-It Ralph is long overdue... which might sting a bit more if Walt Disney Animation and director Rich Moore had botched the concept or its execution. Instead, Disney's well-received 52nd animated feature is as slick as it is shrewd, and won't soon be forgotten.
Meet our hero. No, not Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer), the eponymous handyman of the classic arcade game of the same name. Meet Wreck-It Ralph (a brilliantly cast John C. Reilly), the destructive villain of the "Fix-It Felix" universe and, actually, a hard-working, no-nonsense blue collar videogame character who's spent years doing his job, day in and day out, without complaint. But on the eve of his game's 30th anniversary, Ralph begins to long for something more. He starts to wonder what it would be like to be a hero. Before you can say "secret bonus level," Ralph abandons his arcade cabinet, travels to Game Central Station and sneaks into "Hero's Duty," a first-person shooter unlike anything the big lug has ever tackled before. In "Hero's Duty," though, lies a medal, and a medal is all Ralph believes he needs to be a hero like Felix. Nothing goes according to plan, of course, and it isn't long until Ralph's actions threaten the entire arcade, leaving the rookie do-gooder with little choice but to recruit some new friends -- glitchy "Sugar Rush" kart racer Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), tough-talking "Hero's Duty" sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun (Jane Lynch) and eventually Felix himself -- try to right all that he set wrong and learn a few life lessons in the process.
Wreck-It Ralph could have been a shameless retread of Toy Story. The premise, story elements and plot devices are certainly in place. But the similarities are just that. Similarities. Moore and screenwriters Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee have penned nothing short of a side-splitting, audience-rousing love letter to both old school and modern gaming, and even nudge past Toy Story in one key regard: licensed cameos. Sonic the Hedgehog. Doctor Robotnik. Q*bert. Dig Dug. The cast of Pac-Man. King Koopa himself, Bowser. Mortal Kombat's Kano. Ryu, Ken, Zangief and M.Bison (among other Street Fighters eagle-eyed quarter jockeys will spot). And that's only a taste of the nods, references and sight gags that await gamers. Glitches. Poorly animated sprites. Genre hilarity. Jabs at gaming clichés and convention. If nothing else, it's clear that the Wreck-It Ralph filmmakers aren't simply aware of videogames or, worse, building entire worlds on the back of a brittle gimmick. They're drawing from a lifelong love affair with videogames, and the gamers in the audience, however young or old, are the ones primed to reap the rewards.
And while those who chuckle at the mere mention of a Game Genie or Power Glove will no doubt get the most out of Wreck-It Ralph, casual gamers, button mashers or even those intimidated by the sight of dual analog sticks won't be left scratching their heads or fumbling through an instruction manual. The never-ending stream of layered references bolster the film's entertainment value and credibility, yet rarely get in the way of Ralph's endearing characters, heartwarming identity-crisis tale or sprawling hub-worlds. The only downside? The film's broader strokes also happen to be its flashing orange weak spots. Vanellope turns out to be a fantastic sidekick, irritating though she initially may be, but her game -- "Sugar Rush" -- dilutes the mix. "Hero's Duty" is a wry shot at shooters. "Fix-It Felix, Jr." is a great send-up of Donkey Kong and its early arcade ilk. But Vanellope's cart racer? Suddenly Wreck-It Ralph is home to heaps and heaps of candy puns and chocolate-coated riffs rather than the sort of Mario Kart satire you might expect. There are entire stretches where Ralph could literally be any other animated movie; as if the thought of sticking to their gaming guns, come hell or high water, made Moore and company a bit too nervous.
That said, "Sugar Rush" and its... erm, sugar rushing only dominate the second act. Ralph's endgame encompasses its entire third act, the entirety of its game worlds and the culmination of everything from "Hero's Duty" and its Cy-Bug menace to Felix and the Nicelanders' newfound sympathy for the unsung hero in their midst. It never quite returns to the snappy, wall-to-wall referential humor of Ralph's first thirty minutes, but it closes strong and delivers on its promises and premise. Perhaps more notable is the fact that Walt Disney Animation has, at least for the time being, supplanted Pixar Animation as the Mouse House's go-to source of new classics. While Pixar has been on a bit of a decline (Cars 2 and Brave), Disney Animation has been on a roll thanks to Tangled (by my estimation one of Disney's finest), Winnie the Pooh (a disarmingly minimalistic little gem) and now Wreck-It Ralph, which lays the groundwork for plenty of sequels to come. And it's not as if Ralph will need to repeat itself. Videogaming is as vast as cinema, and the satirical soil is more fertile than any one movie could till. Wreck-It Ralph may not be a flawless insta-classic, but it's a solid, oft-times bold first step into a world that begs further exploration.
Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray, Video Quality
Wreck-It Ralph rockets to the top of the Blu-ray leaderboards with a dazzling 1080p/AVC-encoded spectacle sure to delight gamers and filmfans of all ages. Colors are nothing short of eye-popping, with gorgeous primaries, bright swaths of blue and green, lovely splashes of pink and purple, and deep, inky blacks. Detail is straight-from-the-digital-tap perfect too. Edges are refined, surprisingly natural and consistently clean (and free from pesky ringing or aliasing), the finest textures and tiniest touches are flawlessly resolved, and every last in-joke and easter egg is showcased in all its blink-and-you'll-miss-it glory. (Turn off Disney Intermission and pause away. Behold the countless references and sight gags!) Better still, macroblocking, color banding and other encode glitches are nowhere to be found, making this one of the more pristine and proficient animated presentations on the market.
Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Having already thoroughly outclassed the competition in the video department, Wreck-It Ralph sets its second high-score-to-beat with its energetic, explosive, altogether electrifying DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track. The LFE channel reports for duty and arms itself to the teeth with every low-end element in the film's arsenal. The first-person shooter segments are worth the price of admission alone, with a steady eruption of action that digs deep and takes full advantage of the tools at its disposal. The rear speakers are aggressive and eager to please as well. Cy-Bugs stream across the soundfield. "Sugar Rush" racers zoom around the track. Game Central Station is bustling with activity; all-encompassing, all-enveloping and wholly immersive. Directional effects are a brisk blast, cross-channel pans are a convincing delight and dynamics are oh-so-exacting. Dialogue never fails either. Voices are clear and intelligible at all times, characters are wonderfully grounded in their game worlds no matter the silence or chaos that surrounds them, and prioritization is impeccable. Long story short? Wreck-It Ralph sounds fantastic, from joyous beginning to climactic end, without exception.
Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Wreck-It Ralph doesn't quite nail a flawless victory. No matter. It nails just about everything else, from its loving, gloriously referential satirization of videogames to its story, characters, voice casting, cameos and good humor. Disney's Blu-ray release almost nails a flawless victory too, and only forfeits the honor because of a slim, ultimately disappointing supplemental package. Otherwise, it's all golden, with an outstanding video presentation and a first-rate DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track. So don't miss out. It won't be very long before Ralph is crashing and smashing his way into theaters again.
Wreck-It Ralph: Other Editions
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Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Interview: Wreck-It Ralph Director Rich Moore - February 26, 2013
Emmy-winning director Rich Moore makes his feature-directing debut with Walt Disney Animation's Wreck-It Ralph, following a successful career in television animation on The Simpsons and Futurama, among other series. Nominated for a Best Animated Feature Academy ...
• Wreck-It Ralph Theatrical Short: Paperman - January 30, 2013
Walt Disney Home Entertainment has made Paperman available online in its entirety. The Oscar-nominated theatrical short debuted in front of Best Animated Feature nominee Wreck-It Ralph, and is included on the 2D and 4-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition 3D/2D Combo ...
• Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray - January 3, 2013
Walt Disney Home Entertainment has officially announced and detailed the upcoming 2D and 3D Blu-ray releases of Wreck-It Ralph. Disney's 52nd Animated Classic follows the misadventures of a videogame character who forges his own path, and features the voice talents ...
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