Wreck-It Ralph is the best Pixar film in years, and it’s not even released by Pixar. Its characters aren’t quite as well-realised as Pixar classics like Monsters Inc, Toy Story or Wall-E, but has the other attributes of those films:
- a creative, original world that feels complete, fully-formed.
- an impressive attention to detail. Every scene is infused with little in-jokes, visual or otherwise. Wreck-It Ralph actually exceeds most Pixar films in this regard, and I’m looking forward to watching it on Blu-Ray with a pause button handy. Some little jokes I noticed in the film included Sonic [the Hedgehog] spewing out gold rings when knocked aside, graffito reading “Aerith lives!” and an amusing Beard Papa cameo.
- a cleverly constructed narrative. An attentive viewer might predict certain plot points (you can be sure there’ll be a climactic race when half the film is set in a racing game, for instance) but they’re executed with surprise and nuance.
- the occasional smart pop culture reference (“Children of the Candy Corn”) without Shrek-esque over-reliance on “Oh, I’ve seen that!” humour.
- and, most of all, an exuberant sense of joy that resonates throughout the film, producing that warm feeling as the best “family” films should.