For those of us born in the late 70's and early 80's, "Wreck-It Ralph" is like an electronic Proustian Madeleine that melts in your mouth and triggers an explosion of memories. These range from the love on your parent's face as you unwrap a Nintendo on your eighth birthday, afternoons in the arcade by the beach, countless late nights at your best friend's house trying to finish "Contra" or "Mega Man" (which you had to finish in one go because you couldn't save), "Mario Kart" races in high school, playing "Pac Man" at a birthday party in a bowling alley to avoid those first conversation with girls, all the way to the "Halo" and "Call of Duty" tournaments in the basement of your friend's parents' house as we turned 30 and started having children of our own. But at the same time the new characters are so well developed and the plot so emotionally engaging that kids can enjoy the film without having to recognize the old references. There is no question that Q*Bert is there for the adults.
This film has been in development since the first Nintendo came out in the 1980's, but I'm glad it took as long as it did. Unlike "Toy Story" in 1995 and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," in 1988, the characters in "Wreck-It Ralph" have accompanied us throughout our lives, and the emotion is so much more powerful as we get older. The animators pencilled the famous video game characters into the story before asking the copyright holders for permission to use them. Director Rich Moore and producer Clark Spencer later met with Sega, Nintendo, Konami, Capcom, and other executives at the E3 Entertainment Expo in 2010 to ask for permission to use the characters, and not only did they get the permission but the video game companies got deeply involved in the making the film and the development of the characters. Some characters that the filmmakers decided not to use were Dr Willy from "Mega Man," as well as Mario and Luigi, so we are hoping that there will be a sequel that includes the most famous video game characters of all time.
The film was directed by Rich Moore, the Emmy-winning director of classic episodes of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama" (Moore also voices Sour Bill in the film). Although he must have had a lot of help from cheat codes and legendary Pixar producer John Lasseter, who directed "Toy Story" and "Cars," and worked as an executive producer on the film.
There are lots of cameos in the film, but the main scene that left people wondering was the Bad-Anon meeting from the trailer. For those who might have missed one or two villains, below are pictures of each character. Here we have Bowser from "Super Mario Bros.", Zangief from "Street Fighter," and Dr. Eggman from "Sonic the Hedgehog:"
Next we see M. Bison from "Street Fighter" and Clyde from "Pac Man" and a generic robot:
Lastly we have a generic blue RPG avatar, Neff from "Altered Beast," a generic green monster, Kano from "Mortal Combat," and a generic zombie from "House of the Dead". (There is also a generic devil called Satine who I didn't show).