“I’m gonna wreck-it!”
- Wreck-It Ralph
Here’s what I wrote about this release in my original theatrical review:
“Wreck-It Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is tired of being the bad guy. He’s the thug in the ‘Fix-It Felix, Jr.’ video game, the guy responsible for all the smashing and mashing and bashing that puts the residents of Niceland in jeopardy. He looks at Felix (Jack McBrayer) and his magic hammer with envy, longing to earn the same type of shiny gold medal of appreciation his nemesis achieves on a daily basis. In short, he wants to be the good guy, being bad leading the gigantic brute to the edge of depression.
And so he ‘Turbos,’ otherwise known as game-jumping, leaping out of his old-school 30-year-old favorite into the brand new CGI first-person shooter ‘Hero’s Duty.’ Using brute strength over intellect, he’s able to secure a medal all his own, but one calamity leads to another and next thing Ralph knows he’s in the middle of candy-coated racing game ‘Sugar Rush’ arguing with pintsized wannabe racer Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). She steals his medal so she can enter the race establishing the next day’s combatants, her glitchy personality making the omnipotent King Candy (Alan Tudyk) fearful she’ll turn off the players and lead to their game being unplugged.
Wreck-It Ralph is more fun than anything I could have hoped for. Right off that bat the movie is a total delight, immersing me right into the center of its inspired video game world with a remarkably confident ease. The screenplay by newcomer Jennifer Lee and veteran Phil Johnston (Cedar Rapids) is an invigorating story of resilience and friendship fitting perfectly within the Disney canon, and personally I can’t wait to see the film again.
Keeping up with all of the in-movie video games gags and aside is virtually impossible. From the Bad-Anon Support Group, to appearance by the likes of Q-Bert, Princess Daisy and Chun-Li, to numerous other visual references game fanatics will be all over themselves pointing out to their more clueless friends, the filmmakers have done their homework. This is a fully realized interactive world where new and old schools come together with believable ease, allowing our fascination with games and gaming culture to take on a life of its own in much the same fashion our enchantment with childhood toys gave the original Toy Story its zest and zeal.
But, more importantly, Lee and Johnston have constructed a scenario of self-realization that’s so three-dimensional and character-driven it gives these little stylistic traits far more vitality and heart than they’d ever have had otherwise. They make Ralph a true hero, Vanellope the type of spunky best friend easy to adore and Felix the good-hearted everyman we all wish to some extent we could emulate and be, his relationship with hard-as-nails “Hero’s Duty” Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun (Jane Lynch) all the more intoxicating because of this. They make King Candy, a colorful conglomeration of the Mad Hatter and Humpty Dumpty, a hissable villain but one with a tragic backstory giving the viewer pause, allowing his actions to be both understandable and risible at the very same time.
It gets a little overly chaotic and silly at the end, I can’t deny that fact, never quite achieving the same sort of start-to-finish brilliance Pixar seems to manage more often than not (those three Toy Story adventures being the most obvious example and the films Wreck-It Ralph strives to emulate). The rushed nature of the final act, while fitting the video game esthetic, didn’t leave me satisfied, and I do have to admit to wanting more than what was ultimately delivered.
Yet Wreck-It Ralph is a joy in almost every other way that matters, delivering sights, sounds and, most importantly, a story family audiences are positive to embrace. Ralph and Vanellope’s mutual narratives mix and mingle together like beauteous clockwork, their evolution from rivals to uneasy partners to friends a rapturous tale viewers of all ages will be able to relate with. There is no game over here, no need to plug in extra quarters, the final product a spellbinding game of sibling-like friendship, virtual or no, proving that heroism comes from within and family, whether cybernetic or human, is the most important lifeline of them all.”
Of the five films nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Academy Awards (ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Frankenweenie and eventual winner Brave being the other four) Wreck-It Ralph should have walked away with the Oscar. While I liked all of those films, ParaNorman one heck of a lot (it easily would have been my second choice), this is the one that ended up standing out the most to me, the amount of intelligence, care and inspiration that went into making it positively undeniable.
Wreck-It Ralph is presented on a dual-layer 50GB 3DBlu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 2.39:1/1080p transfer. It is also presented on a standard 50GB Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video with a 2.39:1/1080p transfer.
Disney does these 3D Blu-ray transfers better than anyone at this point, and there one for this title is certainly no exception. If anything, it almost sells me on the format, the colors and textures so richly amazing I feel as if I could have gotten lost in them for an eternity and not cared one single bit.
This Blu-ray features an English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack along with French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and features optional English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
Extras are sadly sparse but do include:
· Paperman (6:34) – The Oscar-winning animated short is presented in both 2D and 3D, both versions looking downright spectacular. This little movie is a gem and one I’m sure I’ll watch every single time I slip the Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray into the player.
· Bit By Bit: Creating The Worlds Of WRECK-IT RALPH (16:40) – Solid little film that looks at all the differing worlds depicted in the film and the lengths the animators went to in order to make them all unique yet tactile.
· Disney Intermission: The Gamer's Guide To WRECK-IT RALPH – When you pause the movie “Talking Dead” host Chris Hardwick pops up to talk about all the in-jokes and references taking place within the film. Can also be switched ‘on’ or ‘off’ at the main menu.
· Deleted & Alternate Scenes with optional commentary by Rich Moore (14:28) – All are interesting, many of them taking the film in some wildly alternate directions that likely wouldn’t have led to its success. That said, still imaginative, still fun and definitely worthy of a look.
· Video Game Commercials -- Original Commercials For Fix-It Felix, Jr., Hero's Duty And Sugar Rush (2:39) – Cute. Nothing more and nothing less. Just cute.
There are roughly about ten minutes or so of sneak peeks at upcoming Disney and Pixar releases (both theatrical and on Blu-ray) while the four-disc set comes with both a DVD and a Digital Copy of the feature film.
Wreck-It Ralph should have won the Oscar. Disney’s 3D Blu-ray release is fantastic. I can’t think of anything more than those two statements that I want to add as far as this review is concerned so I’ll just leave things at that.