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Wreck-It Ralph (3D)


Stars: Voices: John C Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Alan Tudyk, Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Ed O'Neill, Rachael Harris, Dennis Haysbert, Mindy Kaling, Edie McClurg

Director: Rich Moore

Video gamers will get most fun out of this clever, ingeniously-constructed, if just occasionally dullish enterprise from the boys at Pixar/Disney, while kids will enjoy the all-out action bits.

Ralph (Reilly) is the Hulking villain in an arcade game called Fix-It Felix: Felix - McBrayer - is, naturally, the hero, who fixes the buildings that roughhouse Ralph smashes up with his ham-like hands. Ralph, however, has ambitions to be a video hero himself, and is so depressed when not invited to the game's 30th birthday celebrations that he joins Bad Guys Anonymous.

Determined to get the Hero's medal that could change his electronic life, Ralph sneaks out through the wires and invades Cy-Bug, a neighbouring game where warriors fight off the bugs until the insects are attacted to lethal light. Here his bull-in-a-china-shop ways soon incur the wrath of female ├╝ber warrior Calhoun (Lynch) when he nabs his medal, wrecking the game so badly in the process that it gets an 'Out of Order' sticker from the arcade manager (O'Neill) - one step from being unplugged and closed down.

A furious Calhoun pursues the big guy as he accidentally lands up in Sugar Rush, a game in which little sweetie pies race candy cars. His medal is soon in the hands of Vanellope (rather annoyingly voiced by Silverman), a 'glitch' (her character doesn't function properly) who has been forbidden by King Candy (Tudyk) to race, even though she is determined to do so.

Meanwhile, when Ralph proves a no show at his home game, it too, is labelled Out of Order, which causes Felix himself to pursue the blundering Ralph to Sugar Rush, where the Fix-It kid falls heavily for Calhoun, who's hunting a Cy-Bug which, arriving with Ralph, is laying eggs that could leave the land a 'smokin' husk of forgotten dreams'.

This is inventive fun, not especially enhanced by 3D, but with good voice work by Reilly (even though Ralph is not the most magnetic character), Lynch and particularly Tudyk, delightful as the duplicitous King Candy. It doesn't quite have the spark of the best Disney/Pixar collaborations, but younger kids will come away buzzing after the final battle, as the bugs swarm over the land, and there are lots of ingenious and amusing touches to keep adults modestly alert.

Showing with: Paper Man (U, black and white. Director: John Kahrs), an enchanting short in which an office drone throws paper arrows across the block to try to attract the attention of a cute girl he met briefly when a pamphlet attached itself to her face at a railway station. 8/10

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Technicolor.
108 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 02 Feb 2013