“Wreck-It Ralph” explores what happens in video games after the arcade closes. Like “Toy Story,” we see that these characters have a life beyond the action that precedes “Game Over.”
Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, is the villain in a game called “Fix-It Felix Jr.” In the game, Ralph is this really large creature that attempts to tear down an apartment building.
Felix, voiced by Jack McBrayer, has a magic hammer, and he can repair the damage done by Ralph. At the end of the game, Felix is declared a hero and given a medal, while Ralph is thrown off the building and into the mud.
Ralph has done this same job for 30 years, and he is tired of being the bad guy. He attends a support group for villains in the gaming world, but the group tells him to just be what his storyline says he should be.
This doesn’t work for Ralph.
So, he “game jumps.” He leaves his game and story and goes into another game.
He enters a game called “Hero’s Duty,” where the goal is to climb a tower guarded by mechanical insects and get the medal hidden at the top.
He believes that if he gets the medal, the characters of his own game will accept him. He takes the medal and begins a journey through various games.
He meets up with Vanellope von Schweetz, voiced by Sarah Silverman, a glitch character in a Candyland racing game called “Sugar Rush.”
Because she is a program glitch, Vanellope is not allowed to race in the game. She is treated badly by the other racers, especially King Candy, voiced by Alan Tudyk.
King Candy tells Ralph that if Vanellope races, it would be the end of the game and everything would disappear.
Ralph has a choice: risk losing his medal by helping Vanellope, or go back to his game, medal in hand, and hope for acceptance.
John Lasseter, the head of Pixar, is an executive producer here, which explains why this movie is so wonderfully fun.
“Wreck-It Ralph” has the same kind of feeling that a Pixar movie has. So while Disney produced the movie, one can see Lasseter in it.
I could sense the Pixar DNA in the love for the source material. My youngest son, an avid video gamer, praised how much this movie got the gaming world right.
Add to that the beauty of the animation and the simple but engaging storyline of one wanting to “change his stripes” – and you have a winner of a movie.
A word of caution: The movie is a bit too extreme for younger children, say 5 and younger. But those that have an awareness of video games will love it.
And it doesn’t hurt that the main character is looking to do the right thing as well as the means to change his storyline. But isn’t that what Jesus taught could happen?
Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence.
Director: Rich Moore
Writers: Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee
Cast: John C. Reilly: Ralph; Jack McBrayer: Felix; Sarah Silverman: Vanellope; Alan Tudyk: King Candy; Jane Lynch: Calhoun.
The movie’s website is here.