A homeschooling innovation brings opportunity and danger
After a provoking day under the shadow of Fix-It Felix Jr., hammer-handed video game villain Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) sets out to prove he’s not the bad guy everyone thinks he is. He zips through power cords and game hops through the arcade, winning a medal of honor in a Halo-type game, which he quickly loses inside the racing game, Sugar Rush. While searching for the medal, he befriends the barb-tongued yet sprightly Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), and together they concoct a plan to secure both his medal and her place in the upcoming race line-up.
But the stakes soon get a lot higher. While King Candy (Alan Tudyk), a candy-flavored Mad Hatter, is determined to stop Vanellope’s foray into racing, his evil schemes are one-upped by the apocalyptic threat of cy-bugs, robots from another game. Along with Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) and Felix’s new crush, Sergeant Calhoun, Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope must defeat the evil king, stop the cy-bugs, and do so before their glitch-filled game is unplugged. But can Wreck-It Ralph overcome his coding as a villain in time to save his friends?
Fans of Toy Story will find a lot here to pique their interest. The arcade setting brings colorful characters together in a way that hearkens back to Andy’s room. In lieu of toys, though, Wreck-It Ralph draws on classic video games, combining settings and villains from retro games like Pac-Man as well as modern games like Call of Duty.
But Wreck-It Ralph has major glitches, too. Rated PG, the movie’s heroes are prone to snotty remarks, white lies, and crass toilet humor. Some violence may also trouble young viewers, including a scene in which a zombie has his heart ripped out. Disappointingly, with so many clichés like “be yourself” peppering the script, what’s not offensive is more like stale cotton candy than any sugar rush. While this won’t mean game over at the box office, discerning parents may still pull the plug.