The animators did a fantastic job replicating the wildly different art styles from game to game, as older characters move with an 8-bit stiffness while Hero's Duty and Sugar Rush bring you scene after scene of inventive new vistas to gawk at.
Although uncomfortably hyperactive movies can earn the slur "like a video game," this video game movie keeps its movements lively but measured most of the time, making the energetic action sequences feel like earned moments of release.
Sure, there's loads here to tickle video game geeks. But even if you don't know what sound an exclamation mark makes -- that's a borrowed gag from Metal Gear Solid -- there's still plenty here to enjoy.
"The Paperman," a Disney short about an office worker trying to communicate with a woman in the neighboring building with paper airplanes, plays before "Wreck-It Ralph." It's moving and hilarious, and though it's computer-animated, it has the look of a classic, hand-drawn cartoon. Blasts from the past The main characters in "Wreck-It Ralph" are all original Disney creations -- Ralph and Felix weren't actually in a 1980s video game. But the movie makers borrowed all kinds of real game characters to make the setting feel real. If it's been awhile since you've dropped some quarters in an arcade, here's a refresher on some of the cameos.
Zangief (Street Fighter II, 1991): This Russian wrestler in the therapy group is feared for his piledriver move in one of the first smash-hit fighting games. You might also spot his opponents Ken and Ryu in the red and white martial arts uniforms, Chun-Li in the blue Chinese dress and M. Bison in the red dictator's uniform with a cape.
Clyde (Pac-Man, 1980): One of a quartet of ghosts who chase Pac-Man as he chows down on dots, Clyde's the one leading the bad guy therapy group.
Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic The Hedgehog, 1991): Most hedgehogs are pretty pokey, but this cobalt-blue speedster is the fastest video game character out there. His villain Dr. Eggman, the bald, mustachioed and egg-shaped mad scientist, is seen in the therapy group.
Bowser (Super Mario Bros., 1985): Mario's longtime nemesis, a cross between a dragon and a turtle with a shock of fiery red hair, is also part of the therapy group, though Mario himself is a no-show.
Frogger (Frogger, 1981): Blink and you'll miss the eternally endangered amphibian as he hops away -- complete with the game's original jump sound -- in Game Central Station.
Kano (Mortal Kombat, 1992): The mercenary cyborg fighter is also in the therapy group, and he even pulls off one of the famously violent game's fatality moves on a zombie who's none the worse for wear afterward.
Bartender (Tapper, 1983): This unnamed slinger of root beer has to move fast to satisfy his customers, but here he's got a little time to console Ralph.
Q*Bert (Q*Bert, 1982): The unintelligible orange thing with the big schnozz used to hop around pyramid-shaped cubes with purple snake Coily, but now they're both homeless in Game Central Station. 'WRECK-IT RALPH' Cast: (voices) John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman
Theaters: (3-D) AMC Southroads 20, Cinemark Tulsa, Cinemark Broken Arrow, Starworld 20, RiverWalk, Owasso, Sand Springs; (2-D) Eton Square, Moviestar Cinema, Admiral Twin Drive-in
Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Rated: PG (some rude humor and mild action/violence)
Quality: 3.5 (on a scale of zero to four stars)
(c)2012 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.)
Visit Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) at www.tulsaworld.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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