Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Wreck-It Ralph


… is the 52nd animated feature from Walt Disney studios. It was nominated for the Oscar but lost to Brave. The movie is an absolute visual delight. The story is a little weak, possibly because it sought to appeal to young children (an animated film, for kids? What’s that all about?), but there were plenty of other things to keep me happy.

Ralph lives in a 30-year-old video game called Fix-It Felix, Jr. It’s obviously related to classics like Donkey Kong and Mario Brothers. What they call an 8-bit game, or a 16-bit, I forget which. They are all low-resolution, anyway. His job is to be the bad guy, trying to tear down a building while Felix tries to fix it with his magical golden hammer. As such, he is looked down on by all the other characters in the game. He goes to Bad-Anon meetings with other disconsolate bad guys. But he resolves to leave the game and explore others, hoping to earn a medal and be a hero like Felix does at the end of every game.

He visits one of those horrible combat games, Hero’s Duty, where he’s astonished at how hi-res and violent games have become. There he meets the leader of the combat team, Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun (Jane Lynch, in a great voice role) whose job is to destroy some ugly alien bugs. He quickly escapes into the centerpiece of this movie where most of the action takes place, the astonishingly colorful and inventive Sugar Rush game, which is entirely made of candy and other sweets, where sort-of-anime Japanese girls race gingerbread cars through what may be the best CGI environment I have yet seen. I mean, there is barely a frame that doesn’t pop your eyes out.

Living there and aspiring to be a racer herself is Vanellope von Schweetz (Susan Silverman, another great voice performance), who lives inside Diet Cola Mountain (and what is that doing in this universe of obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay?), where precarious stalactites of Mentos keep dropping into a lake of boiling soda, causing eruptions.

There are far too many delicious things like that to see and hear for me to begin to enumerate. It is as chock full of visual delights and puns and great lines and jokes as a Payday bar is crusted with peanuts. Just one: Around King Candy’s castle march a troop of his guards, who are Oreo cookies. And they’re chanting the same song the flying monkeys did at the Wicked Witch’s castle in The Wizard of Oz. Remember what they were chanting? Sounded like “O-re-o, re-OOOOH-ro.” I loved it. And everything else.