Northampton Press

Sunday, May 24, 2020

'Wreck-It' an apt description

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

Imagine having raspy-voiced John C. Reilly and whiny-voiced Sarah Silverman yelling, cajoling and yakking at you for one hour and 48 minutes.

That's one way to describe "Wreck-It Ralph," a garishly-colored, frantic, not very funny animated feature from Walt Disney.

The words of Vanellope, a Bratz doll style character voiced by comedian Sarah Silverman, used to describe Ralph, a Shrek-like character voiced by John C. Reilly ("Step Brothers," "Chicago" supporting actor Oscar nomination), best describe "Wreck-It Ralph" itself: "so freakishly annoying."

The animated film is basically a series of poundings, chases, gunfire and explosions just like your typical video game with lots of 3-D-ready visuals (I opted for regular format).

If you're a gamer, you may want to play the likely "Wreck-It Ralph" game version (as well ride a probable Disney World theme park attraction). If you're not a gamer, and have no interest in getting small and being inside a video game, "Wreck-It Ralph" will hold little interest for you.

The storyline, such as it is, has to do with Ralph not wanting to play a bad guy in "Fix-It Felix," a 1980's-style video game at an arcade.

Felix, a Super Mario Brothers style character, is voiced by Jack McBrayer (TV's "30 Rock").

Another of the film's main characters, Sgt. Calhoun, a female soldier, is voiced by Jane Lynch (TV's "Glee").

King Candy, a character that harks back to roles played by Keenan Wynn, is voiced by Alan Tudyk (TV's :"Subpurgatory").

Much of "Wreck-It Ralph" takes place, not in the video game, "Fix-It Felix," but in another video game, "Sugar Rush," where King Candy rules over Vanellope and a host of other subjects, some of whom are various permutations of some of your favorite candies.

The movie is directed by Rich Moore (TV's "Futurama" and "The Simpsons") in his big screen directorial debut.

The formulaic screenplay was written by Phil Johnson ("Cedar Rapids") and Jennifer Lee, with additional story material from John C. Reilly.

"Wreck-It Ralph" will probably be enjoyed by children 10 and under. Those older, as well as parents or guardians, might be better served by frequent trips to the concession stand to buy more candy.

Preceeding "Wreck-It Ralph" is "Paperman," a wordless, black and white animated short that is charming, sophisticated and clever pretty much everything "Wreck-It Ralph" is not.

"Wreck-It Ralph": MPAA rated PG (Parental Guidance Suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children) for some rude humor and mild action-violence; Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family; Run time: 1 hr, 48 mins.; Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.

Credit Readers Anonymous: Stay to the very end of the concluding "Wreck-It Ralph" credits to see a Pac-Man style video game character begin to gobble the Walt Disney Pictures logo before a glitch freezes it.

Box Office, Nov. 9: "Skyfall," the 23rd installment, 50th anniversary year and biggest James Bond film opening ever, was No. 1, with $87.8 million for the weekend and $90 million since Nov. 8.

2. "Wreck-It Ralph," $33.1 million; $93.6 million, two weeks; 3. "Flight," $15.1 million, $47.7 million, two weeks; 4. "Argo," $6.7 million, $85.7 million, five weeks; 5. "Taken 2," $4 million; $131 million, six weeks; 6. "Here Comes the Boom," $2.5 million, $39 million, five weeks; 7. "Cloud Atlas," $2.5 million, $22.7 million, three weeks; 8. "Pitch Perfect," $2.5 million, $59 million, seven weeks; 9. "The Man with the Iron Fists," $2.4 million, $12.7 million, two weeks; 10. "Hotel Transylvania," $2.3 million, $140.9 million, seven weeks.

Unreel, Nov. 16:

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2," PG-13: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner are back in the romantic fantasy. With the birth of Renesmee, the Cullens must again thwart the Volturi.

"Anna Karenina," R: Leo Tolstoy's classic novel set in late 19th-century Russia is remade with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard and Keira Knightley in the lead role in the drama directed by Joe Wright and also starring Jude Law.

"Silver Linings Playbook," R: A former teacher (Bradley Cooper) facing divorce moves back in with his parents and meets a mystery woman (Jennifer Lawrence). David O. Russell directs the comedy-drama based on the novel by Matthew Quick. Robert De Niro co-stars.

"Price Check," No MPAA rating at Press time: Parker Posey stars in the comedy drama about a supermarket chain. Attention, coupon-clippers.

Read previous movie reviews by Paul Willistein at the Times-News web site,, and hear them on "Lehigh Valley Art Salon," 6 - 6:30 p.m. Mondays, Lehigh Valley Community Public Radio, WDIY 88.1 FM, Email Paul Willistein pwillistein@ and on Facebook.