Computer games and its entertainment rival, the cinema, have never really got along. The more money-making games market has never had the same success when one of its own has transferred across to the silver screen. Many still shudder at the thought of Super Mario Bros. and Street Fighter which led to the decline in the cross-over genre.
However, Disney have appeared to look into their back catalogue for inspiration and a way to avoid replicating the likes of Tomb Raider and have gone the Tron route - not a existing game but a make-believe one and going inside it!
And, for the most part, it works.
Here with Disney's latest animated offering, just like you would expect to find in a Pixar or an Aardman production, the attention to detail is off-the-charts. Any game-junkie will have a field day in spotting the many cleverly hidden in-jokes and references littered throughout Wreck-It Ralph. And, if you're an adult that grew up with arcade and console games then your nostalgia will well and truly be stoked as pretty much all the old classics get to make an appearance one way or another - Space Invaders, Frogger, Q*bert, Paperboy and Pac-Man all get their moment in the sun along with more recent fare such as Metal Gear Solid, World Of Warcraft and Portal. It even boils down to small-but-significant details such as: everything in Fit-It-Felix and Wreck-It Ralph's environment is all square and rectangular as his game is an old-and-dated 8 bit model (check out the lamps etc) and everyone in it moves stiffly just like they did in the games of old. Even a "soldier" from the Halo-esque Hero's Duty reenacts the move that all people have done whilst playing a first person shooter - walking into a wall and unable to move away from it straight away.
Yes, attention to detail is paramount here but there does feel like a slight lack of this concentrated effort where the rest of the film is concerned. Pixar has always been able to blend humour for both the adults and their children in the audience, creating fun moments for all to enjoy and remember. Here, this balance is not necessarily evident, especially where the older folk are concerned. Yes there are moments for the adults - a clever rift of The Wizard Of Oz's castle guards ("oh we oh, Oreo") a Darth Vader breathing sound joke and Jane Lynch's wonderful "programmed with the most tragic back story ever"commando comment, but these are few and far between. Kids are, rightly or wrongly,are the ones mostly catered for with slapstick, toilet humour ("Why did the Hero flush the toilet? Because it was his Doodie!") and loud noises and bright colours.
Wreck-It Ralph is a great kids film but its not a classic family one. The people that will remember the multitude of in-jokes and 8 bit references that are littered throughout the first half of the film (mostly based around Game Central) may find their attention waning after Ralph game jumps into the likes of Hero's Duty and Sugar Rush which is where the children are then catered for with the figurative sugar rush of noise, colour and poop jokes. So, not a GAME OVER but you may think twice if the screen were to ask you to insert another coin TO CONTINUE....
UK release date: 08.02.13