Wreck-it Ralph
dir Rich Moore
prd Clark Spencer
scr Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee
voices John C Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Mindy Kaling, Adam Carolla, Joe Lo Truglio, Ed O'Neill, Dennis Haysbert, Edie McClurg, Raymond S Persi
release US 2.Nov.12, UK 8.Feb.13
12/US Disney 1h41
Wreck-it Ralph
Eye candy: Vanellope and Ralph

reilly silverman lynch
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Wreck-it Ralph Disney's animators clearly had a great time mixing a wide variety of animation styles in this action comedy, which perhaps has too much energy for its own good. Kids won't mind the relentlessly frenetic pace, but the film sometimes feels exhausting even as we enjoy the silly characters and outrageously detailed environments.

Ralph (Reilly) is the baddie in the vintage arcade game Fix-it Felix Jr, in which Felix (McBrayer) repairs Ralph's heavy-fisted damage. But after 30 years, Ralph wants to be a good guy for a change, so he heads into the combat role-play game Hero's Duty to earn some respect. Browbeaten by tough squad leader Calhoun (Lynch), he battles space insects to win a medal and escape. But he inadvertently takes a killer bug with him into the candy-themed racing game Sugar Rush, where he meets the glitch Vanellope (Silverman).

With the Toy Story premise that gaming characters come to life once the arcade closes, the film leaps through its story, bouncing through a series of games that all have strikingly different visual designs. Most of the story plays out in Sugar Rush, an almost painfully delicious-looking world ruled by the nutty King Candy (Tudyk). So while Ralph helps Vanellope defy the king to earn her place in the game, Felix and Calhoun search for the escaped bug, which threatens the entire arcade.

The screenplay juggles so many characters and subplots that we never have time to analyse the general lack of logic, even though there are several carefully stated "rules". Instead, we sit back and enjoy the mayhem, with a blinding collection of new characters as well as old favourites like Pac-Man, Mario and Q*bert. The film inventively stirs everything together, shifting between animation styles while combining characters into an eclectic ensemble.

Along the way there's just enough character depth to make the most of the terrific vocal cast. Reilly is especially good as Ralph, while Lynch gets the best lines ("I have the most tragic backstory ever!"). And every scene is bursting with witty verbal wordplay and visual gags that are both broadly ridiculous and quietly subversive. So even if the cataclysmic climax is utterly bonkers, the film is both crazy and sweet enough to win us over.

cert pg themes, violence 18.Nov.12

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