Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray Review (Kirk Haviland)

Wreck it Ralph Blu-ray

Wreck-It Ralph Blu-Ray Review

Starring the voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Mindy Kaling, Denis Haysbert, Skylar Astin and Ed O`Niell

Written by Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee based on a story by Rich Moore, Phil Johnston and Jim Reardon

Directed by Rich Moore

New to DVD and Blu-Ray from Disney Home Entertainment is the Oscar nominated animated feature film Wreck-It Ralph. The classic 8-bit video game inspired film was a smash hit when it was released in theaters last year and proved to be one of the front runners in one of the best years for animated feature films in a long time. Featuring a smorgasbord of cameos from famous classic video game characters and the newest and possibly most adorable ‘Disney Princess’ to date, the only question that remains is how awesome will the film transfer to home video.

For decades, Ralph (Reilly) has played the bad guy in his popular video game. The main villain in the game ‘Fix-It Felix’, Ralph has been thrown off the top of a building into a puddle of mud more times than he can count. But in a bold move Ralph embarks on an action-packed adventure and sets out to prove to everyone that he is a true hero with a big heart. As he explores exciting new worlds, he teams up with some unlikely new friends including feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (Silverman). But Ralph’s actions carry consequences dire for the Fix-It Felix (McBrayer) crew and Felix himself, who with the aid of Sgt. Calhoun (Lynch) must go after Ralph and try to bring him home.

Wreck-It Ralph is a sweet and endearing story that will delight gamers and non-gamers alike. The story and script are unique and smart, incorporating games and electronic accessories like a simple power bar in ways that have never been seen before onscreen. By allowing characters to go between games as well the filmmakers incorporate things into other games you would never see. Like Pac-Man ghost Clyde hosting a ‘Bad-Anon’ meeting inside the center box of the Pac-Man board with participants like Street Fighter’s Zangief and M. Bison, Dr. Eggman and Mario’s longstanding nemesis Bowser. The concept behind game central station is inspired and leads to some of the best cameos in the film.

Reilly is pitch perfect as the voice of Ralph. His work brings an earnestness and charm to Ralph that undermines any harshness that Ralph may carry. Even when Ralph is mad and does bad things we are still cheering for him. Silverman’s Venellope is the true heart of the story, a loveable and pesky runt known as ‘the glitch’ because of her unstable properties that cause her to occasionally scramble to code with unpredictable side effects. Add in McBrayer as the love-struck Felix and the object of his desire the scrappy Sgt. Calhoun, who has been ‘programmed with the worst back story ever’, pairing up to track down Ralph. And Tudyk as the irrepressible and maniacal King Candy, sounding very much like Roger Rabbit on a permanent sugar high, gives a great performance filled with underlying menace.

Wreck it Ralph 2

The environments and backgrounds in Wreck-It Ralph are brilliantly rendered and executed. From Fix-It Felix’s delightful throwback style, clearly inspired by Donkey Kong, to the hyper realistic Hero’s Duty. Sugar Rush may be the most visually impressive with everything involved in the world being candy and edible meaning sweet treat hounds will be salivating. And the aforementioned Game Central Station which looks much like New York’s Grand Central Station but with power outlets instead of terminals. Of course there is also Litwick’s Arcade, where all the games exist, which looks exactly like the many arcades that were wildly popular in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Over an hour of all-new bonus material is featured on the Blu-ray combo pack, including deleted and alternate scenes, a behind the scene featurette about the environments of Wreck-It Ralph plus the Oscar winning animated short Paperman and fake commercials made for each of the three games in the movie. Paperman is an exceptionally cute and well-crafted short that was well deserving of its Oscar win and the fake commercials are fun to watch. The best special feature though is the Disney Intermission feature that when activated kicks in whenever you pause the Blu-ray. Hosted by Stand-Up comedian and Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick, The Gamer’s Guide to Wreck-It Ralph takes the viewers through the hidden Easter eggs and cameos that are present throughout the movie. The amount of information and fun stuff unveiled here make it by far the most fun 10 minutes of special features on the disc.

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Wreck-It Ralph makes a brilliant transition to the home screen as the film actually looks more like a game than before on a television screen where most games nowadays are played. The transfer looks excellent and the special features shine, Wreck-It Ralph is a must own on Blu-ray and DVD.

Till Next Time,

Movie Junkie TO

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Tucker & Dale vs. Evil – Toronto Underground Cinema

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil has a lot in common with hillbilly slasher flicks like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the Wrong Turn series. However, there a couple major differences: The hillbillies are the good guys and the film is hilarious! My sides and face are still aching this morning, that’s how funny it is!

I caught Tucker & Dale at the Toronto Underground Cinema (186 Spadina Avenue, just North of Queen). Fresh off my outing to see Little Terrors #2 at the Projection Booth, I was hankering for another horrific cinema experience with an audience that would appreciate it.

I was not disappointed.

When I arrived at the Underground, 30 minutes in advance, I was surprised to see a ticket lineup in a very long hallway that almost extended to the doors. I experienced some very mixed emotions:

People actually love horror movies in this city!

Uh oh, would I get in?

Upon speaking with the friendly ticket vendor I learned that the line had to extend out the doors and down to the Mcdonald’s before I had to worry.

After entering the theatre and taking our seats, the audience was welcomed by one of the guys from Rue Morgue (these guys are everywhere). He had a few announcements for us regarding the upcoming Festival of Fear (http://www.rue-morgue.com/rmp_fof.php), which sounds like a blast, and some trivia for the audience, complete with prizes. This was a great way to start off the night and get the audience involved. Although, as horror movie fans we were not a typical audience. The behaviour of the trivia winners as they claimed their prizes resembled that of racoons finding some food only to be startled back into the shadows of the night.

We’re a unique crowd.

After the exciting introduction provided by Rue Morgue we heard a word from a representative of the upcoming Toronto After Dark film festival (http://torontoafterdark.com/2011/) . I’m planning to attend it this year and would recommend it for any horror fans out there. They even have a Zombie Appreciation Night, where anyone resembling the undead receives a discount. Let’s hope everyone is actually wearing makeup.

There is a wonderful sense of community amongst horror film fans in Toronto. I’m thrilled to have found it and I can’t wait to become a more active member. On to the movie!

Tucker & Dale tears down one of the most consistent stereotypes in all of horror cinema, that of the hillbilly, redneck or woodsman as a deranged psycho killer. Tucker and Dale are some of the nicest guys you could hope to meet. Sure, they are a little rough around the edges and they may have a lower social IQ than any member of the Jersey Shore, but they couldn’t even hurt a fish, let alone a human being.

The story starts out with Tucker and Dale setting out for a fishing trip and to check out Tucker’s new vacation home, a bit of a fixer upper, when they run into a group of College kids that have similar plans. Dale tries to strike up a conversation with one of the attractive College girls, but unfortunately the encounter comes off as a bit creepy, as the kids perceive Tucker and Dale to be your typical backwoods villains. Through a series of egregious misunderstandings, Tucker and Dale begin to fit this mould.

The majority of the actors do a decent job in Tucker & Dale, although three in particular stood out for me. Tyler Labine as Dale, and Alan Tudyk as Tucker could not have been cast any better. These two carry the film and are completely believable as benevolent hillbillies. The gags throughout the film are fresh and most are not predictable. In particular, there is a scene with Tucker and a chainsaw that may go down as one of the funniest moments in horror comedy cinema. I swear some people had tears in their eyes at the end of this one, I know I did. Jesse Moss as Chad, the unofficial leader of the College kids, also did a fabulous job as an over-the-top jock, the type of character in horror movies that is usually responsible for convincing the others not to call the police. You have never seen a ‘victim’ leader quite like Chad. He thinks the world of himself and has about one hundred reasons why everyone else is a ‘pussy’.

I have not had such a good time with a comedy in ages. The laughs fly rapidly at the audience for the entire first half and you almost do not have enough time to recover for the next gag. Like all comedies, I’m sure Tucker & Dale will benefit greatly from a packed house and may not seem as side-splitting to someone who watches it at home. Although it should be said that the second-half of the film is not nearly as funny as the first, it does a good job advancing and resolving the story. The film as a whole is a great success and a refreshingly unique take on hillbilly horror.

It seems like Tucker & Dale vs. Evil will be getting a limited theatrical release on September 30th. Keep your eyes open and get to the theatre, even if you don’t love horror movies.

I guarantee you will enjoy Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.

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