WHAT IS IT?
Wreck-It Ralph is an animated movie about an arcade game villain called Ralph who dreams of one day becoming a hero. The film is the 52nd animated movie in the Walt Disney Classics series and features numerous cameos from famous gaming characters, including Sonic the Hedgehog, Pac-Man and Q*bert, amongst others.
Wreck-It Ralph was released in cinemas in 3D in November 2012 in the US and February 2013 in the UK. The film received positive praise from both critics and audiences alike.
GOOD IDEA/BAD IDEA:
Good idea: Likeable bad guy living in an arcade game wants to change his programming in order to become a good guy. In the process, bad guy (of sorts) makes new friends, learns what it really means to be a hero and foils the dastardly plan of the real villain. Along the way (not so) bad guy interacts with many classic gaming characters and takes part in a number of genre games including a shoot-em-up and a racing game. Throw in a few jokes that can appeal to all ages, keep to a running time of around 90 minutes and then slap the Disney banner on it.
Now what is there not to like about this idea?
WHAT'S THE STORY?
Wreck-It Ralph was first conceived in the 1980s (under the name High Score), however it took the best part of 30 years before the film finally made it into production. In this time the games industry underwent radical changes, most notably in home and mobile gaming, however this in no way detracted from the core values of the movie. In fact, the nostalgic design, the numerous cameos from classic characters and the many in-jokes for longterm gamers, only aided in creating a fun, family film that could appeal to multiple generations. To put it simply, Wreck-It Ralph was for gaming, what Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) was for cartoons and Toy Story (1995) was for toys.
The story of Wreck-It Ralph begins at Litwak's Arcade, where Ralph - the villain of the game Fix-It Felix Jr - decides he no longer wants to spend his life performing bad guy duties. After a run-in with the inhabitants of his own game he heads off to take part in first person shooter Hero's Duty, in order to win a medal, thus proving he is a hero all along. Unfortunately for Ralph things do not go according to plan and he soon finds himself in racing game Sugar Rush, where he becomes friends with Vanellope, an outsider sprite with a glitch.
After much soul searching - and a few encounters with the less than friendly inhabitants of Sugar Rush - Ralph soon uncovers a plot which threatens the life of Vanellope. With his friend's life on the line and time running out, Ralph makes the decision to take down the true villain, no matter what the cost.
Thanks to a fantastic cast, some great gags and an engaging storyline, Wreck-It Ralph proved it could match up to the high standards of its contemporary computer animated brothers. The film had a lot of heart and with its multi-generational story it was a winner with kids and adults alike.
*Many characters from arcade games and consoles appear in Wreck-It Ralph, including Pac-Man and Clyde from the Pac-Man games; Doctor Eggman and Sonic from Sonic the Hedgehog; Ryu, Ken, Zangief, M.Bison, Chun-Li, Cammy and Blanka from the Street Fighter series; Neff from Altered Beast; Q*bert from... well, Q*bert; Bowser, Princess Peach and Princess Daisy from Super Mario Bros, and many more. In addition, Lara Croft from Tomb Raider and Mario from Super Mario Bros are mentioned by name, even though they do not appear.
*Dr Wily - the villain from Mega Man - was originally set to appear in the movie, but was removed from the final cut of the film.
*During the 00s when Disney were still developing Wreck-It Ralph, the character Fix-It Felix Jr was at one point the focus of the movie.