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Home Reviews Cinema reviews Some common misconceptions about Wreck-It Ralph
Some common misconceptions about Wreck-It Ralph Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Thursday, 07 February 2013 08:07

Wreck It Ralph 

Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph is in UK cinemas on Friday. I’ve seen it hailed as the best video game movie of the year (both this year and last year), the best animated film of the year and even the best film of the year.

All of these are wrong. But they’re not the only the misconceptions going around about Wreck-It Ralph. Here are three:

1. It's about video games

It may be set in a beautifully realised arcade world, but Wreck-It Ralph has less to do with video games than my Great Aunt Mildred. That universe is sadly only created to set up the movie's irrelevant second half, which takes place in a Mario Kart clone called Sugar Rush. That's when it turns out this is not a film for geeks; it's a film that uses geek references as window dressing for product placement. 


Compare it to Scott Pilgrim vs the World, which actually was about gaming: much like Toy Story, Edgar Wright's movie explored the relationship between humans and games and why we play them. Wreck-It Ralph, on the other hand, has none of that emotional engagement. It’s closer to watching someone else play a video game, except instead of a game it's an advert for Mentos and Diet Coke.

2. It’s a classic “be yourself” Disney tale

“Just 'cause you are bad guy, doesn’t mean you are bad guy!” says Zangief, everyone’s favourite spandex-covered Russian. Somehow that message turns around during the film into “make do with what you’ve got”. The rest of the formulaic feel-good story about glitchy Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) and her attempts to become accepted by the other Sugar Rush racers? That’s not classic Disney, either. That’s generic Disney – a template for advertising to be sprayed on in bright pink colours. 

3. That’s ok because it’s a kids film

Wreck-It Ralph is skewed towards a younger audience, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have depth (see Toy Story) – kids deserve films with substance as much as the next adult. But Disney’s new animation doesn’t so much cater for young watchers as it does treat them like a target demographic. It’s patronizing, cynical and most definitely not cool. Or, to dress it up in video game terms, it's really not worth putting your coin in the slot.


For a less messy version of my incoherent babbling, there's a full Wreck-It Ralph review over at Cine-Vue.