‘Wreck-It Ralph’: Maybe video games can teach life lessons

By Molly Grosskreutz

A&E Editor

and

Valerie Groebner

A&E Assistant Editor

Transported into the unknown and crafty utopia of video games, “Wreck-It Ralph” (directed by Rich Moore) and its vibrant animation tells the story of the quirky ups and downs of video game characters.  Ralph (the voice of John C. Reilly) plays the destructive and disliked bad guy in his home-game “Fix-It Felix” (Jack McBrayer). But once Ralph realizes that he is tired of the villainous lifestyle, he eagerly sets out to prove himself to those who have no faith in him.

Ralph begins his journey and encounters characters of vastly different-themed video games, but things take a major turn when he stumbles into “Sugar Rush” and meets little mischievous and outcast Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman).

Through each other’s company, Ralph and Vanellope realize they have much in common, and Ralph is heartbroken to learn some unexpected facts about Vanellope and her candy-coated world, giving him the opportunity to show his inner hero.

VG: The concept of seeing the world of a video game from the characters’ end was really intriguing, and something I hadn’t ever considered before. The way they made the video gaming world a reality was so unique and eye opening.

MG: I agree 100 percent. The concept of this movie is brilliant, and employs a vast treasure trove of locales and characters that had, up to this point, remained untapped. It was really neat to see iconic video game characters such as Pac-Man and Bowser transplant themselves from arcade screen to movie screen.

VG: I was pleased to see that this film incorporated an aspect of “disabled” individuals (*Spoiler*: Vanellope suffers from
“pixel-exia”). Most children-oriented movies don’t really embrace or demonstrate common imperfections, let alone attempt to send across a positive message, but this movie does both. However, I feel as though this storyline has been used many times throughout previous children-oriented films, and I would have liked for a new or different teaching to come of it.

MG: There’s a lot of talk that “Ralph” is starting a new chapter for Disney. I think that’s true in a lot of ways. Not only is the Disney team redefining animation, they are also making their movies more dynamic than they used to be, shirking away from simple storylines and embracing tough issues.

VG: Although there are many popular video games out there, I was relieved that very few characters from the real world made an appearance in this flick. Should animations from Call of Duty, Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, etc. have shown up, the movie would have had zero originality and spunk.

MG: I admire what the writers did with this storyline. They didn’t use pre-existing games and characters as crutches. Instead, they used those successful examples as archetypes, drawing elements from them but then constructing entirely different worlds.

VG: Fix-It Felix was my personal favorite little character. I enjoyed how his persona matched up perfectly with McBrayer’s other personality, Kenneth Parcell in 30 Rock. Reilly pleasantly called my attention with his “softy” side; I had only ever seen him in suggestive, politically incorrect, inappropriate-for-children essences, but he cleans up nicely.

MG: I thought Reilly was perfectly suited for his role as the well-intentioned ex-villain, but for me, Jane Lynch’s and Sarah Silverman’s voices really stole the show. Lynch shines as Calhoun, a bitter and world-weary alpha female. Silverman’s Vanellope is exactly the opposite: a bubbly, refreshing optimist. I found both characters remarkably endearing.

Final Verdict

VG: Thumbs up.

MG: Thumbs up.

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