The reason I watched this flick was two-fold - firstly because IMDB gives it a credible 8.1/10, and secondly the material has been deemed worthy of an Oscar Nomination.
The narrative is about having sympathy for the bad guy, or rather, the ordinary, no hero guy. Ralph to me represents the everyman, with his workman clothes, his enormous arms, and his 'ordinary' take on life. Trying to be a hero though, especially if your job is not heroic at all (say a demolisher, mechanic, or garbage man) is nevertheless heroic.
Vanellope von Schweetz almost steals the show - charmingly voiced by Sarah Silverman in fine fettle. The retro quality of the games, and the dazzling rendering of the film contrive to make the inside-game conceit a refreshingly breathtaking epic.
Vanellope von Schweetz: Why are your hands so freakishly big?
Wreck-It Ralph: I don't know. Why are you so freakishly annoying?
There is something powerfully insightful about the political scenario that has Vanellope living on the fringe of her game, whilst King Candy's reign depends on preventing her participation...due to her 'glitch'. It's the sort of melodrama adults as well as children can meaningfully appreciate.
A.O. Scott provides the following plot description:
Ralph, like any true Disney animated hero, undergoes an identity crisis. Treated as a pariah by his colleagues in Fix-it Felix Jr. — even though he’s just doing his job — he sets out to become a hero in another game, risking a breach of protocol that is known (for reasons that would be a spoiler to explain) as “going Turbo.” In a violent first-person shooter game where heavily armored warriors mow down rampaging insects, he encounters a tough commander named Calhoun (Jane Lynch), who will serve as a romantic foil for Felix and as an emblem of gender parity in a usually boy-centric imaginative universe.
Vanellope is a “glitch” — a malfunctioning program come to life — mocked and despised for her difference by the mean girls of Sugar Rush (led by Mindy Kaling) and their creepily saccharine king (Alan Tudyk). Her battle for self-esteem is linked with Ralph’s, and — this being an animated Disney feature — the outcome is hardly in doubt. But perhaps because the mood of the movie is so relentlessly playful and kinetic, its bouts of sentimentality feel refreshing, not forced.
“Wreck-It Ralph” manages to be touching as well as silly, thrilling and... I am delighted to surrender my cynicism.
I think the basic message of this film is that we are who we are, but we can also, to some extent change who we are by changing our mindset, in terms of what we do. In Ralph's case, he is someone defined by destruction. But he has a chance to make something here, build something. That doesn't mean that he no longer has a special talent for breaking, but it does mean that he can open the door to a few meaningful alternatives. We all can, but that process starts when we examine who we are, and allow ourselves a chance to squirm in our identity crisis until we come up with a better, richer alternative to our current conundrum.
One of the obvious ways to do this, this film suggests, is by examining our identity via the roles we play, particularly in the work we do, the work society recognises as our role. It is up to us to accept this role, or tweak it, until it better suits our own interior narrative - allowing us to become more authentically ourselves...
SHOOT SCORE : 8.5/10