Wreck-it Ralph

Wreck-it Ralph
Voices of: John C Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch

Director: Rich Moore

Indian Express Rating: ***1/2

A film about video games gives you a certain degree of apprehension, particularly when at the heart of it lies a game about a 9-foot giant wrecking a building and a 4-ft nothing fixing the same.

Wreck-it Ralph demolishes those apprehensions right at the start, opening with a delightful short animated film about the chance encounter between an office accountant, a woman he meets at the station and the paper planes that propel their love story.

What Wreck-It Ralph turns out about instead is the big boys and little girls who don't fit in into their surroundings, about the worlds that become obsolete, and about the relationships that endure. All through the means of a video arcade and its range of games -- from a first-person save-the-world kind of operation, to the 'Wreck-It Ralph' game around a building and its 'fix-it Felix' saviour, and even a pretty-pink world of candies called 'Sugar Rush'.

Reilly is 'Ralph', the wrecker of the Wreck-It Ralph game who has had 30 long years of playing the bad guy as the love, affection and accolades go the way of Felix "the fixer" (McBrayer). His protestations that he too wants to be the good guy go unheard, and he decides that he will prove this by winning a medal.

The search for that medal takes Ralph out of his game into the arcade's star feature 'Hero's World', where Calhoun (Lynch) is the commando-in-chief leading a race past alien-ish creatures to the top of a tower where a medal awaits the winner.

Barely has he won that medal that he finds himself in Sugar Rush, a game as different from Hero's World as possible but with essentially the same set of rules and hierarchies. Ralph quickly identifies himself with Venellope (Silverman), a "glitch" who has to live and die with the game but as a discarded "mistake". The sprightly Venellope, however, is determined to be as big a hero of her world as Ralph wants to be in his.

Meanwhile, Calhoun meets Felix, who has set out in search of Ralph to get him back into Wreck-It Ralph before that game is pulled out, for its star villain having surprisingly gone missing. Calhoun's tough-as-nails exterior melts before Felix's old-world simplicity and charm.

Disney has a winner in terms of the story, the stories within the story, the actors who voice its characters, especially the delightfully plucky and utterly un-self-conscious Venellope, and in not letting 3D overwhelm it all. Executive producer John Lasseter (Toy Story, Up, Brave, Tangled) knows a thing or two about childhood, adulthood and the cusp in between, and this film is a reminder about all the minutiae that go into designing a video game for the fans and for especially the non-fans who couldn't care less.

shalini.langer@expressindia.com

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