‘Wreck-It Ralph’ Review

If tears don’t threaten at any point during “Paperman” (the Disney short that airs before the feature) or “Wreck-It Ralph” you’re made of stone.

A few minutes ago I was trying to explain Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” to my sister, who has three children, two of them younger than five.  Despite enjoying the movie myself, I would not recommend it to children below twelve, mainly because some of the themes it explores are probably a bit above their heads.

“Wreck-It-Ralph” appears to me to sell itself as a children’s film, and while there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, the references it uses are going to draw blank stares from many of them.  For instance, how many young people–and more than a few older ones–have heard of “Q*bert,” “Street Fighter,” or Tammy Fae Bakker?”

If you don’t recognize any of those games or that person, then you’ll still enjoy ‘Ralph,’ though without some of the complexity.

Then there’s are some of the themes that are explored, such as loneliness, neglect, ostracism, selflessness, among others that will (probably) leave younger viewers dry.

John C. Reilly (the voice of Wreck-It Ralph) takes a while to warm up to the role, though I don’t know if this is the fault of the actor, or the direction, but for a large part of the film his performance never quite gelled for me.

It was as if he read the script to us, as opposed to read, then interpret the script, which are not the same things.

As a result, Reilly never becomes Wreck-It Ralph, though what surprised me is how the opposite happened with Sarah Silverman, whom I don’t think is a particularly interesting–or funny–comedienne.  I recognized her high-pitched voice immediately, and was just as quickly bothered by it.  I don’t know what happened because, while John C. Reilly’s voice continued to ill-fit the character, Silverman became Vanellope.

Jack McBrayer (Fix-It Felix) was an inspired casting choice, because the character is literally the same one from NBC’s 30 Rock, only more wholesome.  It’s really odd and has to be seen to be believed because it Fix-It Felix even looks like McBrayer.

Another thing is that “Wreck-It Ralph” is a Disney film, not from Pixar, yet the animation feels like Pixar (which probably isn’t all that strange considering that John Lasseter runs Pixar as well as Disney Animation).

And, as if to reinforce the opinion that “Wreck-It Ralph” is not a children’s film, there’s a new short called “Paperman” that airs before it.  Don’t miss it because it’s one of the most beautiful, romantic films that you will probably see in a long, long time.


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