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Wreck-It Ralph
Genre Animation

Video game arcades are casinos for minors, who want to blow their pocket money in one night. Bright flashing lights, no clocks, no windows, no parents, an instant token dispenser (and drug dealer) in every dingy corner... it was every kid's dream and every other parent's nightmare.

We were able to indulge in our wildest fantasies at the local corner cafe after school or Golden Nugget at the mall. Decapitating enemies with our bare hands in Mortal Kombat, flying F-14 Tomcat jets in After Burner, wielding medieval weapons in Golden Axe or taking a Ferrari Testarossa for a spin in Out Run... on a sugar high, what was not to like?

While it may not have been as safe as we told our parents, it was a bubble of freedom, where kids did a lot of growing up. That coming-of-age nostalgia is what fuels Wreck-It Ralph, a movie about video games that will resurrect many spectacular memories of what it was like killing time in an arcade. After watching this movie, you may be inspired to relive a few golden nuggets of your own.

Wreck-It Ralph follows the misadventures of Ralph, the titular character and unfairly represented villain of a popular Donkey Kong style video game, who sets off on a quest to be the nice guy and hero for a change. The arcade network, now an interconnected "central station", allows video game characters to travel from one game to another, and exist together in a closed video game world of their own.

The concept is fantastic and it's a little surprising that it's original, considering how many Hollywood adults have grown up with video game arcades. Perhaps it was a rights issue, if you consider that some of the most popular video game titles don't feature at all in Wreck-It Ralph. *SPOILER* Nevertheless, the concept works and there are still several classic cameos from Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Bros., Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Frogger, Q*bert, Paperboy, Pong and BurgerTime.

The animation is dazzling, taking Disney up a notch in the new generation. From video game character adaptation to the lush environments, Wreck-It Ralph is literal eye candy at times, creating a definite world for these arcade characters to wreak havoc. The form and format pays loving tribute to the video games it's based on, while forging it's own path much like Monsters Inc. did for nightmares.

The voice casting is spot on, relying on voice talent that truly resonates with the characters, rather than calling in big names just to sell the film. John C. Reilly has been compared to Shrek in the movie, Cyrus, and takes on a similar role as Ralph, a misunderstood villain forced to live on a rubbish heap. Sarah Silverman is dead-on as Vanellope, a sickly sweet Almeira type brat. Jack McBrayer plays Fix-It Felix, a nerdy perfectionist hero, while Jane Lynch gives her die hard alien combat leader, Calhoun, verbal firepower and grit.

Wreck-It Ralph is a fantastic film for all ages. While some may have wished the detour to Sugar Rush, a blend of Mario Kart meets Candyland, was shorter, the story holds strong. The film has a similar format to Shrek and Monsters Inc., but the new skin and arcade concept are fresh enough to carry the film. You could probably write an entire chapter on director Rich Moore's intentions behind the film, but after all is said and done, it still adds up to one smart, funny, nostalgic, entertaining and visually enticing animated adventure.

The bottom line: Enchanting

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