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'Wreck-It Ralph': Is the video game send-up worth seeing?

'Wreck-It Ralph' is Disney's newest animated offering. Check out our full review.

By Ben KendrickScreen Rant / November 5, 2012

'Wreck-It Ralph' stars John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman.

Disney/AP

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In Wreck-It-Ralph, director Rich Moore depicts a world where video game villains aren’t inherently bad (in spite of their in-game evil hijinks), they’re just doing their job. Even though Pixar Studios enjoys a nearly unblemished spotlight at Disney, in-house Walt Disney Animation Studios, which has been churning out animated feature films since 1937 (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) continues to produce big screen hits for the Mouse House – including recent offerings BoltTangled, and hand-drawn titles like The Princess and the Frog.

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However, in an increasingly congested CGI-animation market, it’s more important than ever that animated films provide an enjoyable experience for both children and adults. Fortunately, Wreck-It-Ralph succeeds in its efforts with a solid mix of humorous adventuring, retro game nostalgia, and heartwarming story beats – one that gamers and non-gamers will easily relish.

Despite what the trailers might have indicated, knowledge of video games is not a prerequisite for appreciating Wreck-It-Ralph. Gamers will find plenty of tantalizing in-jokes (some subtle, some not-so-subtle) but, even though there are numerous easter eggs to relish, the core storyline centers around a straightforward character journey. For years, Wreck-It-Ralph (John C. Reilly) has diligently served as the antagonist to video game do-gooder, Fix-It-Felix, Jr. (Jack McBrayer). Although Ralph shares a healthy working relationship with Felix, he has grown tired of being treated like a villain after work hours and in an effort to win favor from the other characters in his game, Wreck-It-Ralph jumps into another title, Hero’s Duty, where he intends to win a medal that will prove bad guys can also be good guys.

In his attempt at heroism, Ralph inadvertently lands in Sugar Rush, a kid-friendly kart racing title, and falls victim to the wiles of Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a 9-year-old racer outcast, and is forced to help the girl win an upcoming competition – in exchange for his precious medal. Although, as the pair prepare for the race, they stumble upon a mysterious plot that threatens the entire arcade, forcing Ralph to confront what it really means to be a good guy.

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