Wreck-It Ralph 2012 ★★★★½

Film #34 of The December Project

I'm not a huge video game nerd, but I had my obsessions when I was young. It was really fun to be taken back to my childhood of spending a decent amount of time playing racing games, super mario brothers, and bomber man. I didn't enjoy this movie because of all that, though. What I enjoyed was the witty dialogue and the emotional connection I formed with the main characters.

Wreck-it Ralph is about as lovable as animated characters get. He's a misunderstood and bullied villain in an aging arcade game. When their 30 year anniversary comes up, he takes stock of his life and discovers he has a dream of winning a hero's medal. He breaks out of his game and goes on an adventure to some of the other games where a hero's medal is possible. When he gets stranded in a Candyland rip-off racing game, he meets a little girl who dreams of entering the next race after being out of action for a while.

The rules and politics of this little underground world are fascinating and compelling in a way that will appeal to adults. I think kids will enjoy this because it's an exhilarating thrill-ride through beautifully animated wonderlands that are both familiar and novel. It's hard not to be invested in characters this warm, funny, and sweet. In this film's warm and gushy heart, it's really just a story about two lonely outcasts who learn to love themselves, warts and all.