Disney’s latest attempts to do for video games what Pixar did for discarded childhood playthings, à la ‘Toy Story’, their debut film, back in 95. The story follows the adventures of the titular Wreck-it Ralph (John C. Reilly) as he determines to prove himself worthier than the bad guy role he’s been programmed to play out every day in an old, classic arcade game, which has managed to survive the test of time as others around it have perished and been replaced by more modern rivals, including a ‘Gears of War’/’Halo’ esque first person shooter. It’s aimed more at kids than adults of course, who ironically won’t get a lot of the in-jokes and references, though most of the action takes place inside the fictional game of ‘Sugar Rush’, which operates much like a candy fuelled version of ‘Mario Cart’.
Though it has succeeded in making The Red Dragon think about dusting down some old games, from around one third of the way into the film it starts to feel a little sluggish and in many ways as clumsy and obvious as its main character; with the wealth of parody material at its disposal it doesn’t quite seem as involving or humorous as it ought to. Ultimately, the film is still pretty good, though this is perhaps more thanks to traditional Disney gushiness rather than fond thumb battering nostalgia, and there is enough here to merit a sequel that will hopefully have a bit more in it for adult audiences, and more in the way of familiar faces from the world of arcade games.
Perfect for families (unless you’re dead against your kids playing video games) and full of nice little touches, from poor path detection and a beholder holding multiple cups of juice at the ‘bad guys support group’, to the thanks given to the caffeinator at the end of the credits, and a little ‘Star Wars’ nod now that Disney have acquired the rights to the franchise from George Lucas (though, interestingly, parts of ‘Sugar Rush’ do look strikingly similar to a certain other eagerly awaited J.J.Abrams project … ).