John C Reilly got game in this enjoyable Disney romp about a video game bad guy who wants to go straight.

Disney's latest has the look of a ready-made franchise that will plug straight into the hearts of former video game arcade players and modern gamers with a hankering for the wonky graphics of a bygone era.

John C Reilly leads an unruly mob of avatars, from Super Mario lookalikes to Pac-Men and generic space trooper cast offs, as Wreck it Ralph, a 643 lbs, nine-foot tall bad guy in an arcade game called Fix it Felix Jr. The flipside of Bob The Builder, his job is to hammer the bejaysus out of an apartment block as the preppy Felix scores points and wins pies from grateful occupants as he builds it the place back up again.

Of course, just as with pre-video game era irritants Tweety Pie and Roadrunner, we dearly wish that Ralphy boy would actually hammer the bejaysus out of Felix and co but Ralph's the bad guy and we all hate the bad guy right? Anyway, thirty years of smashing up buildings can make even a pixelated heart heavy so in an effort to change his ways and go straight, Ralph goes “turbo” and escapes into a gaming multi-verse stuffed with more arcade characters than you can shake a retro joystick at.

In search of redemption, he stumbles from game to game encountering the likes of space trooper Sergeant Calhoun (Glee’s Jane Lynch) and fiesty tomboy Vanellope von Schweetz, a young troublemaking “glitch” played with gusto by Sarah Silverman.

There's plenty of fun to be had with the mesh up of styles and gaming genres here. Wreck it Ralph is no Toy Story, heck, it’s no Monsters Inc either but it zaps by with enough gags, in-jokes and pupil-expanding primary colours to leave oldsters hankering for their arcade days and couch surfers grinning. As marketing ploys go, it’s pretty damn smart. As a family-friendly cartoon it’s not bad either.


Alan Corr