Did you ever wonder that maybe deep within the code of your video games that the actual world of the characters might really exist in some sort of Matrix-like universe? What if the personality coded into them gave them life? That's the premise of Wreck-It Ralph, a sort-of Who Framed Roger Rabbit for the video game generation.
In a busy arcade filled with classics such as Pac-Man and Q-Bert (out of order) to modern kart racers such as (the fictitious) Sugar Rush, a humble Rampage clone called Fix-It Felix is nearing its 30th anniversary. During the night, when the arcade is closed, the characters from all the games come together in a hub located inside the power supply. Wreck-It Ralph, the antagonist of Fix-It Felix is feeling lonely and depressed at being treated like the bad guy outside of play-time and resents never being invited to parties. Tired of this alienation he takes off on a quest to gain trust, respect, and adoration by becoming a hero.
True to his name, he just causes disaster, but soon meets another outcast in the glitchy form of Vanellope von Shweetz, a deleted character locked away in the code of Sugar Rush. They bond, and work together, and in this middle act the film sags, lurching dangerously close to Shrek territory, substitutes the video game culture the fans have been enjoying for candy-based puns, which feel like they belong in a different movie, and recycles the ancient "be yourself" moral that Disney has been milking for many decades. Vanellope is ultimately likable, but her appearance and personality is torn straight from the Pixar Book of Universal Character Clichés and Child Brats (the movie is actually a Disney production, but the comment still stands).
Thankfully, the movie recovers and kicks into high gear for the final act. Ralph accepts his role as a villain within his video game and secures his status as a hero to the audience, up there with Baloo and the Beast. He IS similar to Shrek, but superior, and his is a superior movie.
Video game fans will love the diverse range of characters featured here (Kano, Sonic, Zangief - among many others) while all viewers will adore the beautiful color pallet and Henry Jackman's fun score. There's a lot of imagination here and, middle act aside, Disney have created a lot of potential for a very wide universe and franchise. I eagerly await Wreck-It Ralph 2.
The Blu-ray looks beautiful in 2.40:1 1080p (no 3D option with this Steelbook edition) with DTS HD-MA sound. There are a good amount of extras including the 2012 Academy Award-winning Disney short Paperman.