Wreck-It Ralph - movie review

From January 6, 2013


The movie begins with the Steamboat Willie scene that all the Disney movies are opening with these days, but this time it’s an 8-bit Mickey! After that the film opens on an arcade game from the 1980s with a voice-over from Wreck-It Ralph (the bad guy from the game Fix-It Felix) voiced by John C. Reilly.

Seeing the TMNT arcade game at the beginning montage was awesome! It was also funny to see Ken and Ryu from Street Fighter II stop fighting after people leave the arcade and just talk to each other like friends.

Seeing bad guys from various games I used to play made my day: M. Bison and Zangeif from Street Fighter II, Kano and Smoke from the Mortal Kombat games, a ghost from Pac-Man, and Dr. Eggman from the Sonic the Hedgehog games (you later see Sonic himself. You also see Bowser from the Super Mario games, but unfortunately no Mario or Luigi to be seen, although Fix-It Felix does talk about Mario. I guess Disney got the rights to show Bowser, but not Mario. Oh, well.

The way the characters move in Wreck-It Ralph’s game is hilarious. They move quickly and jerk around like 8-bit video games characters.

The movie references things like characters being stuck in a walk cycle loop, a character a one point continues to walk even though he’s against the wall and not going anywhere. The character is from Hero’s Duty, a game like Halo and Call of Duty that has Ralph fight alien bugs in a violent FPS (first person shooter) game. I think there might be a mocking reference to Scientology in this game: when Ralph first sees the game he exclaims: “Sweet Mother Hubbard!”, but then I realized that the aliens are called Cy-Bugs which is sort of a reference to Cylons (from Battlestar Galactica). Jane Lynch does a good job as the tough female sergeant “programmed with the most tragic back story ever.”

I really liked Sarah Silverman’s character, Vanellope von Schweetz, as well as basically everything in the Sugar Rush racing game because it reminded me so much of one of my favorite game series: Super Mario Kart. Btw, try NOT singing the Sugar Rush song for days after seeing the movie. It’s a really catchy song. I liked the King Candy character, especially because for some reason he sounds like Ed Wynn (Uncle Albert from ‘Mary Poppins’). And I liked the character Sour Bill.

Watch out for the Darth Vader breathing reference :) There’s some stuff about bullying in the film, as the other racers bully Vanellope von Schweetz, destroying her car. I think it’s good that something was said about this subject, as it’s such a big deal in the news and education circles.

I also like video game conventions they reference, like Mini-Games and fighting the Boss Level.

As a side note, Rihanna’s song “Shut Up and Drive” is really out of place in this movie. I almost always hate it when they use pop songs in films, especially ones that weren’t made specifically for the film they’re in. With that said, I did really like the pop song ‘When Can I See You Again?’ (by Owl City) that plays during the end credits, so I’m a hypocrite. Oh, well.


For more info on all the video game references in the film, read this from wikipedia:

In addition to the spoken roles, Wreck-It Ralph contains a number of other video game references, including characters and visual gags. At the meeting of video game villains, the above characters include, in addition to any mentioned above: Bowser from Super Mario Bros., Doctor Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog, and Neff from Altered Beast.

Characters from Q*bert, including Q*bert, Coily, Slick, Sam, and Ugg, are shown as "homeless" characters and later taken in by Ralph and Felix into their game (Q*bert also speaks to Felix at one point using the signature synthesized gibberish and word-balloon symbols from his game, called Q*bert-ese). Scenes in Game Central Station and Tapper's bar include Chun-Li, Cammy, and Blankafrom Street Fighter, Pac-Man, Blinky, Pinky, and Inky from Pac-Man, the Paperboy from Paperboy, the two paddles and the ball from Pong, Dig Dug, a Pooka, and a Fygar from Dig Dug, The Qix from Qix, Frogger from Frogger, and Peter Pepper from BurgerTime. Additionally, Lara Croft and Mario are mentioned in reference.

Additional references are based on sight gags. The residents of Niceland and the bartender from Tapper are animated using a jerky motion that spoofs the limited animation cycles of the sprites of many eight- and sixteen-bit arcade games. King Candy uses the Konami Code on an NES controller to access the programming of Sugar Rush. Throughout Game Central Station is graffiti that includes "Aerith lives" (referencing the character of Aerith Gainsborough from Final Fantasy VII), "All your base are belong to us" (an Engrish phrase popularized from the game Zero Wing), "Sheng Long Was Here" (referencing an April Fool's joke around a made-up character Sheng Long from Street Fighter), and "Jenkins" (a nod to the popular Leeroy Jenkins meme from World of Warcraft). There is also a reference to the Metal Gear series when Ralph is searching for a medal in Tappers Lost and found, finding first the "Exclamation point" (with the corresponding sound effect from the game), and then a Super Mushroom from Super Mario Bros. Mr. Litwak wears a black and white striped referee's shirt, a nod to the iconic outfit of Twin Galaxies founderWalter Day. One of the songs in the credits is an original work from Buckner and Garcia, previously famous for writing video game-themed songs in the 1980s. The Walt Disney Animation Studios opening logo is animated in an 8-bit pixelated fashion, whereas the Walt Disney Picturesclosing production logo appears in a glitched state, a reference to the kill screen from many early arcade games such as Pac-Man