Wreck It Ralph (PG) 93 mins
Ralph just wants to be the good guy for once. He's sick of being imprisoned in an arcade game, condemned to smash up an apartment building and watch his nemesis Fix it Felix rebuild the joint every time. And there's the premise for the best kids' movie of the season, a cheerful quest movie with a heart.
The idea for a movie based on video games has been kicking around since the 1980s, but writer-director Rich Moore has delivered on it with a delightful film. It's a Disney production, but one which takes a well-executed step into Pixar territory - remarkably detailed 3D animation coupled with ironic pixellation for some of the older characters.
At night, when the arcade is closed, the characters are free to roam into other games, and Ralph uses his chance to sneak into a warfare game, accidentally unleashing a plague of killer wasps that threatens to infest the arcade. Ralph, voiced by John C Reilly, is a cheerful oaf, but as often happens with these films, the colour comes from the supporting cast around him, including Jane Lynch as a fierce commando leader with a troubled past. There's a lot of video game in-jokes, but also some genuinely funny moments for the uninitiated, adult and child alike and, once the plot thickens a little, enough to keep both engaged right through to the credits.
Wreck it Ralph opens December 26.
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