Release Date: 8 February 2013 (UK)
Director: Rich Moore
Running Time: 108 Minutes
Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, John Tudyk (voices)
Screening Reviewed: London Press Screening
Reviewed by Kyle Pedley
You’d be forgiven for thinking that Walt Disney Animation Studios and their friends over at Pixar may have thrown one another’s projects at each other of late, so role reversing have been their outputs in Wreck-It Ralph and Brave this past year. Whereas Brave was a passable but pedestrian Princess fable more in keeping with the House of Mouses tradition back catalogue, Ralph is a wonderfully original and inventive post-modern delight bursting with the kind of charisma, charm and self-assuredness that is usually associated with the braver and more audacious outings of Pixar.
The films high concept almost sells itself - focusing on the idea of arcade and video game characters and villains coming together and interacting in the world of ‘Game Central’ after the arcade in which they are housed closes every night. There are plenty of recognisable cameos and fan service littered throughout for the savvier and more videogame-friendly of audiences, though fortunately none of this is leant on, and a mostly original (or adapted) cast of characters come to the fore and carry the movie superbly.
From its involved, unpatronising and consistently entertaining narrative rife with memorable, engaging characters, to the overall level of care and attention that echoes out of practically every frame, Wreck-It Ralph is clearly a labour of love. Hilarious touches and knowing winks to the games industry such as the static movements and animations of Ralph’s co-inhabitant ‘Nicelanders’ through to even audio cues from iconic games such as Metal Gear Solid, this is a film which does not overtly rely on nostalgia but is unafraid of paying homage to the games and experiences which have clearly inspired it. It is no doubt, and truly deserves to be, the beginning of a franchise with almost infinitesimal possibilities, and on the basis of this first instalment, games developers and distributors will no doubt be clamouring to get their icons and IP's involved in the inevitable sequel.
Though some may be disappointed by the films’ misleading marketing (poster regular Sonic the Hedgehog, for instance, appears for literally a handful of seconds in video form), to overlook the level of craft and achievement on display here would be tremendously unfair. This is Disney at it’s most capable and inventive, and as mentioned director Rich Moore and team have outdone even their mighty partners at Pixar when it comes to whimsy, originality and charm. Easily the most accomplished animated feature of the past year, Wreck-It Ralph is up there with the finest the House of Mouse has offered and is an absolute must-see recommendation for fans of videogames, animation and original, entertaining filmmaking as a whole.
(A)MUSINGS RATING - * * * * * (5 out of 5 Stars)
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Press access for this screening of Wreck-It Ralph was provided by Walt Disney Motion Picture Studios UK directly. (A)musings Media gratefully acknowledges their generous invitation.