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Wreck It Ralph

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I’m never thrilled when attending animated films. Often times they’re like Shrek or the last one I saw – Brave. Great graphics, great voices, weak story and ultimately a kids movie. Imagine my surprise when I brought my friends kids to this – and I probably liked it more than they did!

Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) is tired of being the bad guy, as Fix-It Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer, of 30 Rock, with perfect southern/nerd voice) comes in to save the day. Imagine how angry Ralph would get after doing this for years. Even at the anniversary party he gets snubbed.

In a bit that will remind many of Toy Story – when the arcade closes and the cats are away, the video game characters will play. The only stipulation is that they have to return to their games before the first quarter is inserted the following day. You never go turbo (when you finally find out what that means, you’ll die laughing).

Ralph figures he can jump over to another video game, help Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch, who steals every scene she’s in) battle big bugs and win a medal. He’ll return to his game a hero.

He meets Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman, totally nailing the snotty kid voice). She’s in a game that’s like an electronic Candyland. It’s called Sugar Rush. That’s when all hell (and candy cane tree branches) break loose.

The voice-overs are all solid. We hear Ed O’Neill, Mindy Kaling, Edie McClurg, Horatio Sanz, Adam Carolla, and Alan Tudyk channeling the Mad Hatter as King Candy. He’s absolutely wonderful in the role.

This is the perfect family film (even with its PG rating). Adults will laugh at things the kids don’t get. One of those scenes would be an AA type meeting for video game villains (“Take it one game at a time.”).

The kids will love seeing their favorite characters from Mario Brothers and Street Racer. And if you aren’t a gamer, you’ll still have a blast. There were characters I didn’t recognize. As Cee Lo sings, I’m more Atari. Yet there weren’t any scenes I felt were wasted.

Watching Ralph and Vanellope team up is adorable. Her problem is that she’s a glitch in the game. That means King Candy doesn’t want her to race, because a kid putting in a quarter could choose her character. The glitch could cause a problem in the game, having the arcade owner to replace it with something new (yet another Toy Story similarity).

I remember hearing Hall of Fame baseball player Dave Winfield speaking in La Jolla, and he talked about seeing kids playing baseball video games. It baffled him that children would rather do that than play the real thing.

I thought about how adults would be enjoying this movie with their kids, and saying afterwards “When we were kids, the only graphics they had on video games were gorillas throwing barrels, a yellow round thing that ate dots, and a huge centipede. You don’t know how lucky you have it.”

This movie has heart, humor, and graphics that will make you think more Pixar than Disney. Even the short that proceeds it (Paperman) is fun.

This is Toy Story meets Willie Wonka.

Go see it. You won’t be disappointed.

I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars.

1 Comment

  • Auntie Em

    Bright new TV commentator Maddie is a hit with her friend Josh! Seldom have I heard a young person speak so clearly and coherently, without resorting to Uh and Ummm. You go Maddie! I am a tad over 39, but I will definitely go see this film when it comes to Poway. Have been looking for a "kid film" that has adult delivery — I do NOT need more slime, blood, guts and sorcery.

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