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April 27, 2013
Wreck-It Ralph Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
26/12/201224/4/2013Walt DisneyRich Moore
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1PGJohn C. Reilley (voice)

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Ralph and Felix star in Wreck-It Ralph.

When I first heard about this movie I knew it would be of immediate interest to myself (as a gamer and fan of CG films) as well as millions of other gamers around the globe. For Walt Disney Pictures the subject matter, and storyline, was a gamble with a production budget reportedly around $US165 million. It paid off though, a fantastic film captured the hearts of filmgoers and generated a whopping $US470 million at the worldwide box office. So, what exactly is Wreck-It Ralph about then?

Wreck-It Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, longs to be as beloved as his games perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer). Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy. But they do love heroes so when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch), Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan - win a medal - but soon wrecks everything, and accidently unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Ralphs only hope? Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a young troublemaking glitch from a candy-coated cart racing game who might just be the one to teach Ralph what it means to be a Good Guy. But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before its Game Over for the entire arcade?

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Video game villains attend a "bad" meeting.
As a CG (Computer Generated) film this really is an exceptional looking title with dozens of real-life video game characters appearing in the feature film, albeit often very briefly. It's just great to see them with so much detail and clarity and as a gamer there are a tonne of video game references that will keep you hooked - particularly in the first part of the film. Without providing a full list you can expect to see characters including Sonic the Hedgehog, QBert, Zangief, Dr Eggman, the bar from Root Beer Tapper, Pong, Bowser and even the famed Konami cheat code makes and appearance. There are dozens more game references, from characters, to locations, to graffiti on walls.

Any CG film also relies on the voiceovers to convey the characters emotions and carry the story and the filmmakers have hit a couple of home runs here. We've always been fans of John C. Reilly and he's fantastic as Ralph however it's Sarah Silverman as the young Vanellope that brings life to the film with an very energetic performance while Jane Lynch (who most would know from Glee) is very entertaining as Sergeant Calhoun from the Hero's Duty game.

Call us stupid, or perhaps just forgetful, but the credits for the film on this Blu-Ray may be different from those we recall seeing in cinemas. The credit sequence sees the films main characters appearing in many game related screens (Ralph destroys the Car with Ryu from the Street Fighter II Special Stage for instance). It's one of the most entertaining credit sequences we've seen for some time.

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Ralph prepares Vanellope for racing.
Wreck-It Ralph is a fun movie for kids of all ages. While we were disappointed that the real-world game references seem to tail off in the second half of the film it is still an enjoyable, sugar-coated film. Certainly one to check out...

Wreck-It Ralph is presented on Blu-Ray in the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec and it's visual eye-candy from start to finish. As you can see in the very bottom screenshot here the developers have even taken care that in the 8-bit game world the blockiness comes out on the slime. Characters are emotional - there is one scene with Ralph destroying a car that has as much emotion as any other real-life film scene we've ever seen. This is a fine film from first time director Rich Moore and while not confirmed as yet, we certainly he hopes he returns for the sequel.

We should also mention that we saw this latest Disney film in cinemas in 3D and it was one of the best 3D experiences we've ever had with a wonderful sense of depth and some jaw-droppingly entertaining 3D moments. Somewhat unfortunately we're only reviewing the 2D Blu-Ray here, but we highly recommend those with 3DTV's, and assuming you enjoy watching 3D movies, consider opting for the 3D Blu-Ray release for the few dollars more.

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Visually Wreck-It Ralph is quite gorgeous.
Wreck-It Ralph is presented on Blu-Ray with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which is an absolute, perfect, cracker of a track with a gorgeous clarity, use of surround sound channels and LFE channel. Dialogue is always crystal clear, but there are just so many moments you could use to highlight the clarity of the Blu-Ray format.

When Ralph enters the Hero's Duty game and enters the battle the movie has a wicked dub step beat from Skrillex that just sounds phenomenal on a great speaker system. But that's only one small instance in a film filled with audio candy with frequent and aggressive use of surround sound channels, great low-end for the sub-woofer to use, and yet plenty of lively music and crystal clear dialogue. The entire score for this film though, from composer Henry Jackman, is quite terrific and perfectly suited to the various scenes throughout the film.

In fact, the only way we think this audio could have been improved would be with a 7.1 audio mix, but there's little disappointment with such an aggressively used 5.1 audio track.

Beyond the primary audio track this disc contains several other languages. First up is an Dolby Digital 2.0 English Descriptive Audio track at 320kbps, followed by Spanish DTS 5.1 track encoded at 1.5Mbps, and Portuguese and Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks at 640kbps. Of course these aren't as lively as the lossless English track, but will get the job done if needed. Subtitles are provided in English for the Hearing Impaired, English, Spanish and Portuguese. We sampled the English tracks and found no issues with accuracy to the on-screen dialogue.

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Jane Lynch is superb in Wreck-It Ralph.
Sadly this disc isn't loaded with extras, but what is here is worth checking out - in particular the Paperman Theatrical Short which played before Wreck-It Ralph in cinemas and went on to pick up the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Paperman Theatrical Short (19:59/HD): Included on the Blu-Ray is this Academy Award winning animated short film. It really is quite a joyous experience, definitely worth checking out with superb animation and a fantastic inclusion on this disc. The film is presented in a 16:9 aspect ratio using the AVC MPEG-4 codec and with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz). There's certainly no skimping on quality in this film - technically or artistically.

Bit By Bit: Creating The Worlds of Wreck-It Ralph (16:40/HD): This is the "making of" documentary which, while far too short for our liking, does a decent job of detailing the creation of the film, designing the look of the different worlds (or games), and other elements of the production.

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Even with modern visuals, note the (deliberate) 8-Bit blocky nature?
Alternate & Deleted Scenes (15:26/HD): Playable with or without commentary from director Rich Moore, scenes include "Ralph in Hero's Duty Prison" (5:09), "The Maize Maze" (2:25), "Venellope's Volcano" (3:12) and "Extreme EZ Livin' 2" (3:16). In fact most of these are more storyboarded sequences, with no complete animation and only temporary voiceovers. Still, some interesting scenes here that could have been fun in the final film.

Video Game Trailers (2:39/HD): We expected trailers for games based on the film but rather here we have several retro styled commercials for games featured in the film including "Fix-It Felix Jr", "Sugar Rush", "Hero's Duty", and "Fix It Felix Hammer". Pretty entertaining.

Wreck-It Ralph is a fantastic movie which both youngsters and older folk will enjoy. Naturally if you're a gamer you'll find quite a few more enjoyable moments in many of the scenes, but it's not mandatory. The audio visual transfer is perfect while there are a couple of extras worth your time - including the Academy Award winning Paperman short film.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Walt Disney Pictures. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.