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Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray Review

Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray

“Wreck-It Ralph” never lives up to its potential.

In “Toy Story,” the toys come alive when no one is around. In “Wreck-It Ralph,” it’s arcade video game characters that come alive when Litwak’s Arcade is closed for business. The story focuses on one such arcade game character, Ralph (the villain from the fictional “Rampage” and “Donkey Kong” esque “Fix-It Felix, Jr.” game).

Ralph, who spends day after day as a villain, is tired of his repetitious life and decides to abandon his game to visit other game worlds to try and become a hero for once. He first tries his hand at the FPS shooter game “Hero’s Duty,” but that doesn’t go well at all as he finds himself woefully out of place in this realm. When he wanders over to the game “Sugar Rush”, however, things began to change for Ralph when he encounters a glitch named Vanellope. At first, Ralph is annoyed by her, but he soon befriends her and decides to help her out when he learns of her plight (I won’t spoil what that is). Ralph’s time with Vanellope becomes interrupted, however, as dangers begin to pile on for poor Ralph. Not only are destructive Cy-Bugs (from the “Hero’s Duty” game) escaping into other games, but the villainous King Candy in “Sugar Rush” has dastardly plans of his own. Worse still, the “Wreck-It Ralph” arcade game (housed at Litwak’s Arcade) is in danger of having the plug pulled for good. Can Ralph, Vanellope, Felix, and Sergeant Calhoun (from “Hero’s Duty”) “fix” all of the problems or will their games be doomed?

When I first heard about the concept for Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” years prior to its release, I was immediately intrigued. Excluding the work of Pixar, Disney was in dire need of an animated film that could redeem their forgettable features from the past 10 years and it seemed like this tribute to the arcade and video game generation was a perfect new Disney project. Alas, despite moments of greatness, ‘Ralph’ wears out its premise early on.

In the first half hour, ‘Ralph’ was an utter delight as the film crams in beloved video game characters from such games as Q*Bert, Pac-Man, Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog, the obscure Tapper and many others. After that segment is over, however, ‘Ralph’ shifts away from real video games to fake video games like “Hero’s Duty” (a cross between “Halo” and “Call Of Duty”) and “Sugar Rush” (a food inspired “Mario Kart” rip-off). As the focus shifts to these other game worlds, the story clearly wants to try and evoke the spirit and and wonder of “Toy Story,” but in reality, it becomes a tiring gimmick that is cluttered with subplots and plot twists. Under more capable hands (Cough Pixar Cough), ‘Ralph’ could have been something special. As is, it’s a film that never quite goes where you want it to.

On the plus side, the voice acting is top notch here. John C. Reilly, who I firmly believe is one of the best actors in the biz these days, makes a perfect existential Ralph. Alan Tudyk, who plays the Ed Wynn inspired King Candy, is a scene stealer as the demented villain. Jack McBrayer (Felix) and Jane Lynch (Sergeant Calhoun) also put in fine voice acting performances here. As for Sarah Silverman (Vanellope), her voice can certainly be grating at times, but she brings real heart to the character. Sure, Vanellope is annoying at first, but the character grows and grows on you.

Note: The Ultimate Collector’s Edition contains a Blu-ray 3D copy, a Blu-ray disc, a DVD disc and a digital copy disc.

Video/Audio:

The animated feature, which is presented in 2.39:1 1080p, looks flawless in hi-def. From the 8 bit animation to the stunning CGI animation of the Hero’s Duty world, I think we can all agree that the transfer (and the animation work) is first rate here.

The Skrillex music, the sound f/x, and the voice acting all sound as sharp as can be with the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track.

Extras:
* “Paperman”- Forget about “Wreck-It Ralph,” the real feature here is this charming Oscar winning animated B&W short about a man, a woman, paper, and love.
* Disney/Pixar trailers.
* 4 alternate and deleted scenes with optional commentary (and an intro) by director Rich Moore.
* Video game commercials for “Fix Ir Felix Jr.,” “Sugar Rush,” “Hero’s Duty,” and “Fix It Felix Hammer.”
* “Bit By Bit: Creating The Worlds Of Wreck-It Ralph”- A featurette containing interviews with the crew members, discussions about how the story came about, designs, animation work, characters, the video game worlds, etc.

Summary: “Wreck-It Ralph” is worth a watch, but don’t be surprised if you get exhausted by the film. Hopefully, the planned sequel fares better (especially if they add Mario and Tron as rumored).

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March 10, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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