Wreck-It Ralph’s primary source of pleasure is nostalgia: it’s a CGI time-machine for those who misspent their youth developing RSIs on bleeping 8-bit arcade consoles. Our eponymous hero (Reilly) is the Donkey Kong-like villain of one such game. By day Ralph conforms to his destructive thug-programming and by night he curses his lot with his baddie buddies – a cameo from Zangief, the Soviet brute from Street Fighter, is inspired. Like the protagonists of Megamind and Despicable Me, Ralph's a bad guy who just wants to be good.
Director Rich Moore creates a vivid universe for this existential crisis. In an attempt to put his smashing skills to heroic use, Ralph goes AWOL from his own game and finds himself battling Starship Trooper-like bugs with a gung-ho commando (Lynch) and forming a brotherly bond with a live-wire glitch (Silverman) from a kaleidoscopic racing game. Ralph’s odyssey through these 3D vistas is sparky enough, but becomes increasingly manic and never matches the wit of the in-joke loaded opening. [Jamie Dunn]