Not since Pixar's "Toy Story" in 1995 has there been an animated film so clever, whimsical and original as "Wreck-It Ralph."
"Wreck-It Ralph" is similar to "Toy Story" in that when the humans are away, the characters will come out to play. "Wreck-It Ralph" is one of several video games at a popular arcade. When the arcade closes for the night and the characters are no longer "working," we are transported to this wondrous, interesting world inside the crevices and nooks of the arcade machines.
Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is sick of being out-shined by his video game's hero Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer). Ralph's job is to break and wreck the building, so Felix can come to the rescue with his golden power hammer and make the repairs. Felix always wins and gets his golden medal, while Ralph gets thrown off the building by the townsfolk.
Ralph is so bummed out by being the bad guy all the time that he sets off into the arcade world to win a golden medal and impress Felix and the rest of his town. Ralph sneaks his way into an armed forces "Halo" type game called "Hero's Duty," where he fights with Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch), a pixie blonde warrior who is programmed with "the most tragic back story imaginable."
Ralph also visits "Sugar Rush," a bright kids' racing game that is covered in gum drops, candy canes, chocolate syrup, so much so that it reminds us of Willy Wonka's world. There, he meets Vanellope von Schweetz (a terrific voice performance from Sarah Silverman), a "glitch" in the game, who is consistently made fun of by the other racers and King Candy (Alan Tudyk). Ralph and Vanellope team up, hoping to prove that they are valuable in their own games.
Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph" works for three main reasons: an original script, memorable voice performances and bright visuals that complete the settings of the film. The screenplay written by Phil Johnston ("Cedar Rapids") and Jennifer Lee is truly one of the best of the year because it's smart, hilarious and all ages will love it.
Every actor gives a great voice performance, but major props have to be given to Silverman who completely disappeared into the young, cutesy wannabe racer, Vanellope. Executive producer John Lasseter (director and the mind behind "Toy Story") certainly helped develop the enchanting world we see on-screen, and his efforts surely paid off.
"Wreck-It Ralph" is a perfect film for children and adults because it offers kids a colorful and unique story, while adults will get a kick out of seeing their video game heroes on the big screen. However, don't pay for the inflated price of a 3D ticket, as that extra dimenion adds nothing to this film.
"Wreck-It Ralph" is not only one of the best family films of the year, it's one of the best animated films we've seen in a long time.