You don’t have to be a video game geek to enjoy “Wreck-It Ralph,” but it certainly helps.
The latest from Disney Animation feels like a Pixar film (it’s not), with a clever script that appeals to everyone. It’s like the video game version of “Toy Story.”
John C. Reilly voices the title character, a video game villain who longs to be the good guy. Ralph sets out to fulfill that dream by leaving his game and jumping to other games, where he can prove that he can be a hero.
This causes a major rift in the arcade world, with the hero of Ralph’s game, Felix (voiced by Jack McBrayer), and a female warrior in a shooting game (voiced by Jane Lynch) teaming up to find Ralph.
While the hunt for Ralph continues, Ralph joins forces with a racing game glitch named Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman), who might be the key to Ralph becoming a good guy.
“Wreck-It Ralph” follows a familiar formula, one that has been so successful in the “Toy Story” series. Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee’s screenplay is heartfelt, especially as the relationship between Vanellope and Ralph develops, sprinkled with just enough gaming references to appease the hard-core gamer.
Director Rich Moore adds to that with great cameos from video game characters and some wonderful sight gags. This film is also full of gorgeous detail, creating a world full of imagination and possibilities.
I think “Wreck It-Ralph” only scratches the surface of what could be in this world. This film has opened the door to a possible franchise, with many areas of the world yet to discover.
It’s definitely a world I wouldn’t mind revisiting sometime.
DVD dandy of the week
This week’s dandy is “The Amazing Spider-Man” (B), the reboot of the webslinger saga with “(500) Days of Summer” director Marc Webb behind the camera.
And while the film suffers a bit from deja vu, it still is a promising restart that is a step above the third and final chapter of the Raimi trilogy.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” starts from square one, tracing the origins of teenager Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and his transformation into the popular crime fighter.
It begins with Peter trying to learn why his parents left him with his Aunt May (Sally Field) and Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen). The investigation leads him to a scientist who worked with his father – Curt Conners (Rhys Ifans), who is working on a top-secret project for a giant corporation.
While in the lab, Peter is bitten by a spider that is part of the experiments, giving him abilities beyond his imagination.
The newfound confidence helps him bond with high school crush Gwen Stacey (Emma Stone), but also leads to troubles, culminating in a clash with Conners and his alter ego the Lizard.
Resets on comic book franchises have been hit and miss. For every “Batman Begins” that gets it right, there is a “Superman Returns” that is a colossal misstep.
With such little time between the previous films, this “Spider-Man” does feel awfully familiar, requiring the audience to sift through plenty of exposition before the film finds its action groove.
When Spider-Man takes to the streets and soars through the city skyline, the film hits another gear. Sure, it’s been done before, but it’s still pretty cool to watch.
The cast is pretty fun to watch, too.
Garfield is probably too old for the part – the same can be said for Stone – but he brings a new spin and some great energy in the lead role. It’s also nice to have veterans like Field and Sheen come in and class the joint up a little.
Ifans’ role is more effects than meat and bones, but this movie is more about Parker and the relationships around him.
It’s a good starting point for a franchise that still has some life left in it.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” is rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, and will be available Friday on DVD.