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Wreck-it Ralph brings back Disney's animated success

By Alex jabre
On November 21, 2012

Watching Wreck-It Ralph is like inhaling a bag of candy and sniffing up so much sugar that it dazzles your brain. It's an ingenious film; it is surprisingly touching while bursting with imagination, invention and humor. In a year of middling- to-decent animated films, it boldly stands out front and center. I think we may be looking at this year's Best Animated Feature come Oscar season. The film is set at an arcade where, after closing hours, the arcade game characters literally have a life of their own. One of them, the eponymous character (voiced by John C. Reilly), feels misunderstood and lonely after having to play the villain of the game "Fix-It Felix, Jr." year after year. At a support group meeting for video game baddies, he figures that maybe - just maybe - he'd like to be the hero for once. But in order to get the attention of his game's inhabitants, including its
faultless hero Felix (voiced by 30 Rock's Jack McBrayer), he'll have to earn a medal to prove that he's worth something. This leads him down a path where he abandons his game and ventures into the realm of the
arcade universe. His first stop is at "Hero's Duty," a first- person shooting game commanded by the ferocious Sgt. Calhoun (Jane Lynch). Later, he finds himself in the candy-coated racing game "Sugar Rush," where he meets a young girl named Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). Though they initially clash, her childlike sassiness masks a desire to also be accepted and understood in her game. Meanwhile, Felix begins desperately searching for Ralph while falling in love with Sgt. Calhoun, if you can believe it.
Wreck-It Ralph marks the cinematic debut of Rich Moore, a director known mostly for his work on The Simpsons and Futurama, who again is able to blend the hilarity with genuine pathos. The entire voice cast is great, although
it would be nice to one day see Jane Lynch play a role that isn't the über-masculine, tough-as-nails commando chick. And though I'm not much of a video gamer, I still marveled at the film's unique, retro feel as well as its cameos from other video game characters like Sonic the Hedgehog, Bowser and Pac-Man. Wreck-It Ralph does run slightly longer than most animated features, but it's so well-plotted and entertaining that you hardly even notice. The film is preceded by a new Disney animated short called Paper Man, which is absolutely wonderful and definitely adds to
the experience. Wreck-It Ralph is a reminder of why Disney is the best at what they do: they tell great stories that appeal to everyone. This is one of the best family
films of the year. Game on.


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