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Wreck-It Ralph - Blu-ray Review

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Wreck it Ralph

4 stars

Delightfully nostalgic for the unrushed days of 8-bit video innocence, yet finding inspiration in the full-throttle frenzy of today’s first-person shooters, Wreck-It Ralph is what happens when Disney meets Pixar – exactly the quality of film we had hoped for when Mickey Mouse and Nemo became corporate cousins following the merger of the two companies over a half decade ago. Wreck-It Ralph isn’t a Pixar film, but it certainly feels like one.

That’s because Pixar and Disney Animation chief creative officer, John Lasseter’s fingerprints are all over the film as executive producer. While he didn’t direct, Lasseter’s methodology – skills honed as writer of A Bug’s Life, and the Toy Story and Cars films - is baked into Wreck-It Ralph‘s DNA. Because of his tried-and-true three-pronged philosophy of story, characters, and believable environment, Wreck-It Ralph will likely go down as one of the best video game-based movies and a very solid contender in the crowded realm of animated films.

The story finds life from the same premise as Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. – what our toys and games do when we’re not around. Specifically with Wreck-It Ralph, we’re presented with a fantasy of what video game arcade characters do once the lights are turned off and we humans leave.

Ralph (John C. Reilly) is the hulking Popeye-armed villain of a Donkey Kong-like game called Fix-It Felix Jr. in which he climbs a brick apartment building smashing it to pieces, while the good guy Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) - controlled by the operator – follows behind Ralph and repairs the damage with a golden hammer. At the end of each level, the building’s residents throw Ralph off the top of the building.

"Delightfully nostalgic for the unrushed days of 8-bit video innocence"

When the arcade lights go out, Ralph retreats to his off-screen junkyard (a pile of broken bricks) and dreams of the day when he too can be celebrated a hero and even garner a shiny medal. Ralph regularly attends Bad-Anon support groups where he joins other bad guys (like the ghost from Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog’s Dr. Robotnik, and Street Fighter’s Zangrief) in commiseration of being the lesser-respected characters in the video game world.

Conjoining the video games and thereby providing the conduit to move from one game to another is Game Central Station – actually the massive power supply connected to all the games – that becomes a wonderful treat to the eyes as we see hundreds of video game characters (past and present) as they bide time while humans are away.

Naturally, Ralph sees Game Central Station as his ticket to a medal, which he hopes will provide him the respect to be invited to Fix-It Felix’s 30th anniversary party. So, it’s off to Hero’s Duty, a gritty, militaristic first-person shooter game which features armor-clad soldiers who fight alien Cy-Bugs while trying to capture the prized medal. But if Ralph thought he had it bad in Fix-It-Felix Jr., he’ll have a rude awakening when he finds out he’s being pursued not only by Felix who hopes to bring Ralph home, but also by Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch), the tough-as-nails leader of Hero’s Duty.

The chase eventually ends up in the super sticky-sweet kids’ game called Sugar Rush, a Japanese Anime-inspired candy cart racing game where Ralph meets Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), who is a pixelating programming mistake determined to earn her place in the starting lineup amongst the other racers. Years of rejection have left Vanellope with a wicked sense of humor and a razor-sharp tongue – the perfect playground for the sardonic wit of Silverman. However, somewhere beneath that hard shell is a sweet center just waiting to be revealed.

Wreck it Ralph - Blu-ray Review

It’s the relationship forged between Ralph and Vanellope that forms the film’s strong and alluring emotional center, one of Lasseter’s core tenets of a successful animated film. First-time feature filmmaker Moore directs the road movie-like proceedings working from a wonderful script by Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee. Certainly not an easy task, considering they had to bring four distinctly different worlds together (8-bit Fix-It Felix; hyper-realistic Hero’s Duty; super-cute Sugar Rush; and Game Central Station) while balancing against the quieter moments that revolve around friendship, the Disney-friendly themes of doing the right thing, and loving oneself no matter how we’re made.

In the tradition of a Pixar film (I told you this thing feels like a Pixar movie), Wreck-It Ralph is preceded by a wonderfully sweet, little black and white 6-minute short called Paperman that tells the wordless story of finding romance and happiness in the big city - the perfect accompaniment to the hallmark Disney heart and genuine human emotion of Wreck-It Ralph.

Wreck it RalphMPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence.
108m mins.
: Rich Moore
: Jennifer Lee and Phil Johnston
Cast: John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch; Sarah Silverman; Jack McBrayer
Genre: Family | Animated | Comedy
The story of a regular guy just looking for a little wreck-ognition.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I guess you really gotta watch where you step in a game called "Hero's Doodie"!"
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release Date:
November 2, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
March 5, 2013.

Synopsis: Ralph is tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, the "good guy" star of their game who always gets to save the day. But after decades doing the same thing and seeing all the glory go to Felix, Ralph decides he's tired of playing the role of a bad guy. He takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a game-hopping journey across the arcade through every generation of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero. On his quest, he meets the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun from the first-person action game Hero's Duty. But it's the feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, whose world is threatened when Ralph accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens the entire arcade. Will Ralph realize his dream and save the day before it's too late?

Wreck it Ralph - Blu-ray Review


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - March 5, 2013
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: A, B

Every single time a new animated film is released the bar for blu-ray transfers is raised and leave it to the mighty House of the Mouse to top themselves with this title.  Disney’s 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer of Wreck-it Ralph is nothing short of spectacular.  The colors practically drip with juice and flavor and are as plentiful as the laughs.  You’ve got the primary colors, great use of pinks and purples, and those blacks are dynamically inky.  No, these colors don’t run.  Detail is strong.  Textures, digitally rendered, are thick and intricate and even the tiniest of patterns are visible.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track is equally beautiful with sound textures as complicated and as layered as the picture.  This is a top-notch animated release that won’t be topped anytime soon.



  • Disappointingly, there is no commentary track.

Special Features:

Unfortunately, Disney sort of drops the ball here.  After nearly ten minutes of Sneek Peeks and Walt Disney World ads, there’s the Paperman Theatrical short (the one that won the Academy Award this year), and an all too brief look at how creating the world and look of the film came about.  While it features interviews with director Rich Moore, producer Clark Spencer, writer Phil Johnston, art director Mike Gabriel, co-art director Ian Gooding, effects supervisor Cesar Velazquez, animation supervisor Renato Dos Anjos and other key members of the team, it simply fails to be very informative.  There are 14 minutes of Alternate & Deleted Scenes and they all feature optional commentary with Moore.  Rounding out the supplemental material are amusing faux Video Game Commercials.  A digital download and DVD version of the film is also available.

  • Paperman: Theatrical Short (7 min)
  • Bit by Bit: Creating the Worlds of Wreck-It Ralph (17 min)
  • Alternate & Deleted Scenes (HD, 14 min)
  • Video Game Commercials (3 min_
  • Disney Intermission (10 min)
  • Sneak Peeks (10 min)

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