Viewed – 20 June 2013 Blu-ray
CGI has pretty much taken over traditional hand drawn cell animation, and where it hasn’t (such as the movies of Studio Ghibli) it is still used to enhance the art. Simply put animated movies look stunning. So these days, they have to bring something to the table new and exciting to stand out in a crowded genre. Does this one have what it takes?
Ralph is a video-game villain, modeled it seems on the classic Donkey Kong game he plays the wrecking giant who destroys a tower block, until Fix It Felix (see: Jump Man, aka Mario) comes to the rescue, and ‘fixes’ the tower block until the occupants toss Ralph from the top … game over. But Ralph is tired of being the villain, and feels he has what it take to be that hero and claim his golden medal so everyone will appreciate him. This pretty and energetic movie has a feel of Monsters Inc. with a world going on that we are not aware of as human beings, this time an arcade where behind the scenes in ‘game central station’ video-game characters hang out at bars, visit support groups and act like every day folk outside of their respective games. It’s a very cool idea that I think is only marginally successful. The many video-game references are more the style of spot the famous and not so famous character, than clever actual jokes of video-game culture. Yes the writing for such a subject could have been sharper, but relies a little too much on the viewer having a long memory of video-games. So therefore this slightly alienates those who may not have such a history.
On a plus, we get a likable, adorable little girl (Sarah Silverman) who befriends Ralph in his quest and she’s a great creation, and an Alice In Wonderland inspired King proves an interesting villain. Animation throughout is slick, with plenty of well-observed gaming detail, even if the more famous faces are disappointingly under-used – licensing perhaps? Ralph himself, beyond a good performance by John C. Reilly, is also rather forgettable. That being said what happens and some of the ideas (the Gears of War-like space marines section) and situations are still enjoyable (the final Mario Kart inspired race) and even for a lesser entry in Disney’s cannon – this was difficult not to enjoy.
Verdict: 3.5 /5