What a happy movie this is! And the fun notes are struck right in the beginning when Wreck-it Ralph shares at Bad Anon — a delightful take on Alcoholics Anonymous. Actually, even before the movie starts, there is the sweet black-and-white featurette Paperman. Ralph is the bad guy in an arcade game. He wrecks things, and Fix-it Felix Jr. mends it. Everyone loves Felix and gives him pies and smiles while Ralph lives alone in a garbage dump. Things come to a head on the 30th anniversary celebrations of the game with Ralph not being invited to the party. Ralph decides to become the good guy and win a medal to be accepted. He goes to another game, Hero’s Duty, to get the medal and sets off a series of unfortunate events.
The movie is the greatest fun at many levels. The fact that there are so many gaming environments allows for absolutely stunning visuals. From the flat primary colours of Fix it Felix Jr. to the combat colours of Hero’s Duty to the psychedelic wonderland of Sugar Rush, the animation is a treat. There is also that Grand Central Station-type place where after hours, characters move between games.
Conspiracy theorists can see parallels between the game world and the real world — quite like The Matrix without Morpheus’ mumbo jumbo. The whole thing of being a glitch and living in the fringes of the system, breaking everything down into lines of code, hacking into the main frame to change settings and being shut down by pulling the plug — all of it sounds suitably heavy-duty.
However, Wreck-It Ralph works spectacularly well even if you do not tend towards looking for the meaning of life in déjà vu. The characters are such fun, and subtle subversions just add an extra layer of enjoyment to the proceedings. Ralph (John C. Reilly) is your standard misunderstood big guy who you cannot help liking. Felix (Jack McBrayer) you’d think is just pious and smug, but he is lovable too and when he is smitten by the no-nonsense Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch) from Hero’s Duty with her terribly tragic back story) you cannot help going awww…
Nine-year-old racer Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) like Princess Merida from Brave (also executive produced by John Lasseter) is not annoyingly twee. While she does not have Merida’s lovely fiery curls, she sure has her temperament — “racing is in my code”. Even the wicked King Candy (Alan Tudyk) is sweetly wicked. With almost an hour of the film set in Sugar Rush, the jam biscuit wheels, the donut security guards and the chocolate lakes remind you of the Land of Goodies from Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree stories. There is the same delicious nostalgia, wonder for the magic of CGI and pleasure at smart subversions. Truly a Deepavali treat.