Oscar®Oscar® Nominee for Best Animated Feature Film
Movie Review

Wreck-It Ralph

MPAA Rating: PG for some rude humor and mild action/violence.

Reviewed by: Timothy Flick
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family Teens Adults
Genre:
Animation Adventure Kids Comedy 3D
Length:
1 hr. 32 min.
Year of Release:
2012
USA Release:
November 2, 2012 (wide—3,600+ theaters)
DVD: March 5, 2013
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

how to be a true hero

the difficulties of people who dislike their job, because it si boring and repetitive

how to deal with bullies

Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.

the appeal of video games

Click for Guide2Games
Featuring: John C. ReillyWreck-It Ralph (voice)
Jack McBrayer … Fix-It Felix (voice)
Sarah Silverman … Vanellope von Schweetz (voice)
Jane LynchSergeant Calhoun (voice)
Adam Carolla … Wynchel (voice)
more »
Director: Rich Moore
Producer: Walt Disney Animation Studios
Monica Lago-Kaytis … associate producer
John Lasseter … executive producer
Clark Spencer … producer
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“He’s exploring new worlds, he’s meeting new friends… he’s got ONE chance to play the hero.”

“Wreck-It Ralph” is adorable. The film evokes an essence of heart that is not anchored by the innuendos of today’s “kids” films. Most animated films today are produced with the idea of selling it to the kids while keeping the parents awake. Usually, like above that is brought on by double entendres, and adult themes strewn about. “Wreck-It Ralph” brings a different approach, nostalgia. Throughout the film (mostly the first act), “Wreck-It Ralph” is a goldmine for adults reminiscing of the hours spent at home or the arcade. From the 8-bit Disney logo to cameos by Bowser and Sonic, to the use of cheat codes on an old Nintendo controller, the fan service is wonderful and will require many views to catch everything.

“Wreck-It Ralph” centers around Ralph, a video game antagonist who yearns to be as sought after as his game’s good guy Fix-It Felix. Felix, being the quintessential nice guy, is lauded by everyone. Constantly being told that “nobody loves the bad guy,” Ralph thrusts himself into a journey of game-jumping to a new first-person shooter, knowing that winning a medal will be his ticket to a new life. The problem is that Ralph can only wreck things. Catastrophe ensues, propelling Ralph then into a candy-coated racing game, where he meets a young girl who is a glitch in her own game. The two of them embark on a journey that shows each of them that they have a purpose in their world.

To put it simply, “Wreck-It Ralph” is a colorful kids’ movie that teaches a lesson. That is fine, but what makes this movie tick? One line, from the fantastic group therapy session scene, sticks out. “I’m bad, and that’s good, and that’s not bad, there’s no one I’d rather be than me.” Ralph’s duty is to wreck his world, doing something that may not be seen as good or acceptable by the people around him, so he covets the world that Felix and other heroes have.

The story invites us into Ralph’s crusade to understand we all sometimes struggle with desiring what another has and not realizing our design is what God intended. 1 Samuel 16:7 states, “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’” We can see that Ralph judged his status by the glorification of others, but wonderfully, at the end of the film, Ralph finds his purpose (which drew many audible “aww’s” from the audience), and his heart is full with joy. This is the similar to the joy that we receive through Christ knowing our heart is pure, while not judging our lives on the riches of others.

The film is a joy to watch for many reasons. It brings together a truly enjoyable cast and a heartfelt story that engrosses the audience while the video game nostalgia brings a huge smile to anyone that emptied their allowance trying to get their initials enshrined at their favorite arcade.

Objectionable Content: I would highly recommend “Wreck-It Ralph” to anyone five or older, as some of the actions scenes may be a little too intense. Hero’s Duty (the first-person shooting game) involves several characters shooting flying bug enemies. The scenes involve multiple characters in peril trying to survive the enemies attacking them. Another scene involves a wedding where one of the bugs flies in and eats a character. A character in Sugar Rush (kart racing game) is attacked by another while racing, causing them to wreck. Characters drink out of martini glasses during a party, but it is not implied that the drinks are alcoholic. Two character kiss, however they get married at the end.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I had been waiting to see Wreck-It Ralph ever since I saw the previews for this film. Even before the critics said anything, I had a feeling this would be a good movie, and I was right. As many have said, there truly is something for everyone in this film, no matter what “level” of gaming you’re at. From Sonic the Hedgehog, to Pacman, even Q-bert. It was amazing that they incorporated all the different characters from the classic video games. I enjoyed the story very much. There’s enough substance to keep the story going for almost two hours (I saw the 3D version which was a little longer, but still very entertaining). It was nice that the movie had a few twists thrown in, that were genuine twists, adding a nice touch to the film. The acting was up to par, as expected from a Disney movie, and the 3D added a whole new appreciation to this film.

Also, some good lessons/morals were thrown in that were honest and, again, genuine. I’m happy to recommend this movie. Disney, I feel, is getting the message that we want the family friendly genre of film back into Hollywood’s vision. Perhaps the rest of Hollywood will learn something from Disney. You don’t have to add filthy humor to make a movie for children. In short, there’s no “Wreck” to this film, and there’s nothing in it that I felt needed “Fixing.” Excellent work Disney!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Positive—“Wreck-it Ralph” is excellent for a great lesson; the lead character is designed to be bad, but yearns to be good. Just because of all the conditions and circumstances forces one to look away from the good and incline to immerse what the world often has to offer, mostly temptations—doesn’t mean one has to choose it. “Wreck-it-Ralph” is an allegory of the real world, that’s how I felt. When the world, in a way, “design” people who look away from morals, good character, and God, that’s not an excuse, and in everyone there is an internal yearning for God and goodness. That’s the core and the heart of this wonderful movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Cyril Thomas, age 32 (United Kingdom)
Positive—We loved this movie!!(adults 45, 42, 21 and 18) This was an OOh-Ahh movie, lots of color and creativeness. We loved how they incorporated a good story, video games and laughs. I could hear the kids in the theater laughing, giggling and “oohing” during the movie. After the movie they were skipping and dancing there way out-too cute. I have to admit I felt like it too, lol. Great movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Laura, age 42 (USA)
Positive—This was a really cute movie. Clever plot twists, very likable characters, and a good lesson. I really enjoyed it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Bethany, age 18 (USA)
Positive—This is a hard movie to review. I enjoyed it. I was just a bit befuddled with the concept of a bad guy being good for being bad, which was good. It doesn’t say “go be bad,” but they could have gotten the message of “be yourself” across better if they would have used a character other than the “bad guy” in a video game. I can better see the moral of the story applied to someone who has a less than socially ideal job, but not someone who does what is socially or morally wrong. But despite the gray line, it does manage to send the message of being valuable for who you are. I related it to how God loves me and values me even though I don’t meet society’s or others standards. So for that reason, I give it a positive rating. A good message is in there.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Trina, age 45 (USA)
Positive—I thought this was an excellent movie!!! I took my 9 year old son and we it was soooooo much better than we had anticipated! I don’t see how anyone can comment on anything negative. It was one of the 1st movies in a long time that did not have adult humor in it. I read previous comments of the BRATTY girl, but what they don’t share is why she is like that and, of course, ends up very happy and sweet. And even though she was bullied, she forgives everyone who tormented her. As Christians, we should point out the good in people and always stop focusing on such negativity! I mean, the end of the movie says it all!!! I highly recommend it for families even with young children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Angelina, age 35 (USA)
Positive—This is a good movie for the entire family to see. It teaches some good lessons about love and friendship, and I loved the entire premise of the film. I’d recommend saving a few bucks and just seeing it in 2D, though. The 3D was fun, but not really worth the extra $$$. The only objectionable content was some light name calling and gross out gags. Still, it has a good blend of comedy that both parents and kids will enjoy. It brought back some good old gaming memories from my childhood!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Curtis, age 20 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—Many very creative and funny moments. I think I heard the term “xxxx-load” (as in rear-end) once, but it could have been a similar sounding term. There was the bossy female leader of commando-like soldiers who was better than all men at war fighting, yet was depicted with the stunning good looks of a skinny super-model. Other feminist elements were present, such as the usual depiction of the “acceptable” violence toward and denigration of male characters by female characters, while the male characters never reciprocated (of course, such conduct would be unacceptable). My family had a long talk after this flick, discussing the positives and negatives. Overall, it was an enjoyable movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Todd Z, age 42 (USA)
Negative
Negative—We saw this last night. My husband, myself, our 17 year old daughter and our 14 year old son. It started off really cute, but within a few minutes we almost left the theater. The main character is shown in a “bad guy” support group, and sitting right next to him is a zombie, who gets his heart pulled out by another “bad guy” character. I felt this was disgusting, and offensive and quite violent. I feel the zombie phenomena is unhealthy and sick, anyway. But, since I had read reviews saying it was a sweet show, we decided to stay, hoping that would be all we disliked. The show is full of potty humor, the other main character is a brat, the worldview is confused, and though the animation, sight gags, and pop culture references were amusing, it felt flat.

What moral messages there were, suffered because the worldview is such a mishmash of contradictory beliefs, that you are left with no clear morality. I was sad that Disney had loosely modeled the villain after Ed Wynn, who was a lovable character in early Disney films, in this, he turns into a psycho at the end, and it was quite scary when he jerks Ralph’s head up to make him watch someone “diiieee”. The cybugs were quite scary, as well. Not the sweet, funny family film we were hoping for.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—RL, age 37 (USA)
Negative—This movie had amazing potential to be a really great illustration of self acceptance to young viewers, but it fell short. The stellar graphics and intelligent plot are undermined by the characters’ non-stop crude banter, that deems itself “South Park” worthy. Also, it has some pretty intense scenes (i.e., zombie’s heart being ripped out, killer cyber bugs, and groom being eaten at the altar).

The main turn-off of this movie is how Disney tried to bring across a self-acceptance message by declaring that “bad is good”. This backwards message flies in the face of biblical teaching. I know Disney wants parents to read between the lines, but kids take things at face value and will be confused. As a parent of three, I would view the movie first, because the initial review on this movie is down playing a great amount of offensive content.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Kinnan, age 32 (USA)
Negative—While the premise is clever, and the animation is well done, the movie is overshadowed by continuous crude “humor,” which made me wish I had not exposed my children to this movie. This should have been a good movie, but it was ruined by objectionable content. Do not recommend.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jon, age 33 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I’ve been waiting for this movie ever since it was announced, and I must say, it far surpassed my expectations. The animation is gorgeous, the script is fantastic, the voice actors are superb, and the movie is pretty much amazing all around. No matter which video game world Ralph is in, the story never looses its momentum, and it stays strong the whole way through. While the movie has earned some fame for including real video game characters, it doesn’t lean on that fact to support itself. You’ll get a few laughs if you know about the games they reference, but they’re only quick gags and aren’t so big as to confuse non-gamers or distract from the main plot. This works very well, and I applaud the filmmakers for not trying to milk it to the point of obnoxiousness.

The movie has good values as well. It encourages friendship, self-sacrifice, appreciation for other people and the things they do, and shows how jealousy can turn you into a monster. One of the main characters, Vanellope, does act like a brat at the beginning of the film. However, as the movie goes on and she becomes friends with Ralph, she softens up. Though she still retains some of her attitude, she also shows that she cares and is genuinely grateful for all that Ralph has done for her. This contrast really impacted me, and she still remains my favorite character. Now, no movie is without its problems, and this one came with a few more than I expected. As one reviewer noted before me, a villain rips out a zombie’s heart at the villains meeting. Both Vanellope and Ralph resort to potty humor on more than one occasion. There is a scene where Felix goes back and forth between having his face punched by Calhoun, and fixing the broken teeth, black eyes, and bumps and bruises she leaves behind. The Cybugs, especially toward the end of the movie, can be frightening to younger children.

However, despite these problems, I highly recommend this movie. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re willing to pay the money for a ticket, I can say that you won’t be disappointed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Moriah, age 15 (USA)
Positive—For the negative reviewers, if your looking for a perfect movie, sorry, it doesn’t exist. Sure, it has bad parts, but as a previous reviewer said, don’t focus on them. Talk about the movie at the end with your family and try and weed out the bad parts. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Talk it out.

And when you strip away the bad parts, you’ll see how good this movie is. After that, just don’t pay attention to the bad messages, pay attention to the true and good morals. Like self-sacrifice, helping others, helping the outcast.

And for a reviewer who thought it was disturbing to see the evil character try and force Ralph to watch Vanellope die, yes, it is disturbing, but so is Satan. He wants to watch us die. And for others around to just watch. Sometimes the truth is disturbing. We need to know our enemy is real. But also that God is real, and that he will defeat Satan in the end.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Noah, age 15 (USA)

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