(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Wreck-It Ralph)
Doug (vo): When Wreck-It Ralph first came out, the term that was being thrown around a lot is that it was the Roger Rabbit of video game movies, and from the advertising, it kind of looked like that. You saw kind of a Donkey Kong-ish knockoff suddenly in with all these really famous characters. There’s Bowser, there’s a bunch of Street Fighter guys, there’s the ghost from Pac-Man. Nothing like this has ever been done in a movie, at least not with video games. It really was the equivalent of seeing Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny together, it was so surreal. However, where in Roger Rabbit, a lot of these characters keep popping up throughout the entire film, in this one, it’s only the first couple of minutes. Because of this, there was definitely a crowd of people that kind of felt ripped off. I mean, in the commercials, they showed every scene that had a video game character in it. So when you actually watch the film, there’s practically nothing left. I, kind of like these people, wanted a little bit more of them, but the good news is, the story and characters were so good that you almost don’t notice. Much like Roger Rabbit, the story can completely hold up on its own even if you didn’t have those characters in there. The main leads and ideas are more than enough to keep it afloat.
Doug (vo): The film starts off in an arcade, where there’s an old 80s game called Fix-It Felix. The villain of the game is Wreck-It Ralph, kind of a Donkey Kong-style character that doesn’t get much respect. Little do we know there’s a whole video game world going on right under our noses. Characters use the plugs and wires to all meet up in one location to shoot the shit, talk nonsense, all that good stuff. But Ralph, like a lot of video game villains, is not feeling very loved. He’s feeling underappreciated as the bad guy of the game, and wants more attention for the important work that he does. So he starts game-hopping to find some way to get his reward. The only thing he can figure is that if he got a medal somehow, that would mean that he has done a great deed. So he travels into one of the much more violent video games, gets his medal, but loses it in another one. Along the way, he comes across a glitch named Vanellope, who lives in kind of a Mario Kart world where nobody likes her either. So they make a deal with one another. If Ralph can help her get in the game and get the appreciation she deserves, she’ll help him get his medal back and get him the appreciation he deserves. But there’s an even bigger conspiracy going on between villains, side characters, and all sorts of craziness that might result in the end of the video game world as we know it.
Doug (vo): I’m really impressed how even though it’s kind of a complicated story when you get down to it, they explain it in a very simple way. The film is very good at throwing in different surprises and turns around every corner in explaining how the world works. Through warp zones and cheat codes, you can actually change your identity and anything about your environment. Really, the movie takes total advantage of what’s given to them. It isn’t just using popular video game characters, it’s totally embracing the idea of what they have, incorporating both the retro games of the past and the newer games of today.
[The film's main characters are shown]
Doug (vo): Through all the clever writing and satire, though, there’s also a very heartfelt story between Vanellope and Ralph. This is the focus of the film, and, yeah, though I would’ve liked to have seen a few more video game characters, this really is where the attention should be. The voice acting in this is beyond pitch perfect. I mean, talk about getting the best people to match these characters. John C. Reilly is the big doofus who has a heart of gold, Sarah Silverman is the smart aleck little brat, Jane Lynch is the badass commander with a backstory so funny, I dare not ruin it here. The list goes on.
[Various other clips resume showing]
Doug (vo): This is one of those movies that does so well in combining really great humor in with the story that it’s telling. They almost go hand-in-hand, like something that’s a pretty funny joke can also be a major plot device. The explanation about why Vanellope has to be kept out of the game is actually both really funny and really heartbreaking. Even though these are just video game characters and you play them all the time, you really get wrapped up in what they’re going through. You want to see Ralph get his medal, you want to see Vanellope win the race, you want to see all sorts of good things happen to them and overcome evil. And all along the way, you’re getting these great in-jokes that you don’t need to know in order to follow it, but it just makes it all the more enjoyable if you do.
[The film's big sad scene, as well as the climax, is shown]
Doug (vo): I say my only hang-up with the film is that we get a little bit of that forced scene where the good guy has to be bad in order to not hurt the other good guy, and it’s, okay, not a misunderstanding or "liar revealed" story, but you know the drill. Just when they’re becoming the best of friends, one of them has to do something really mean to hurt the other one, but it’s also in order to save them and, honestly, if it hadn’t been done a million times before, it probably would’ve worked fine here. I mean, they do explain everything pretty well. But you just know, after their little fight and moping and doping around, one of them has to come to a realization and go back and say they’re sorry and that we can begin the climax. I know we need conflict, I know we need drama, but we also need a little variety. And this has been done a lot of times before. The climax itself is also a little mundane. I mean, at first, it’s great, starting off with this race and people jumping on top of other cars and stuff, but then you go into this fight on top of a mountain with one of the characters turning into a big monster and, it’s not awful, it’s just, again, we’ve seen this a million times and there isn’t anything that new to it. But honestly, those are small gripes.
Doug (vo): Wreck-It Ralph has really likeable characters, a very clever setup, and a story environment that makes you realize you don’t need as much of the gimmicks as you thought you would. Yeah, it’s neat to see Zangief, yeah, it’s neat that they referenced Lara Croft, but that’s not what the movie’s about, nor should it be what it’s about. It’s about a connection between these two polar opposites who also happen to be outsiders, and so, they find a way to band together, all while throwing in some really funny side characters and some really great humor. You may not get as many classic characters as you want, but you’ll definitely get a whole bunch of new ones that are just as good.
[The film's final scene, showing Ralph and Vanellope both smiling and looking at each other, is shown]