Wreck-It Ralph looks so good. It looks like it’s the first good mainstream video-game-referencing thing ever created. When I first heard about it, I was optimistic based on early art but skeptical based on every “movie about video games” ever made. But man. This one looks GREAT. There’s so many great things in this trailer, I’m going to have to go through it shot by shot.

I love how there are three different character designs for Ralph. There’s his 8-bit sprite, his 3D model, and his 2D arcade cabinet drawing. I like how all three of those looks are so faithful to the aesthetic they’re based on. There’s a few discrepancies, like, an 8-bit game couldn’t have that many colors and probably wouldn’t have voice acting that clear.

But when you consider that these kind of subtle changes are important for keeping it connected to the rest of the movie, its understandable. But come on, just the fact that we’re even talking about color pallets as the only potential flaw in an 8-bit mock up is amazing. Most things branded as “8-bit” look more like a weird combination of 16-bit (in terms of pallet) and DOS games (in terms of sprite shape) — I’m talking about, like, the Code Monkeys and IT Crowd sprites. But Ralph’s sprite looks like an actual 8-bit sprite.

Huh! It’s really interesting to think of the individual *instances* of a video game character and not the in-universe characters. Like, this implies that this particular Ralph has been sitting here for 30 years in this one arcade. A lot like the Toy Story toys, where two Buzz Lightyears can have different personalities.

Man, what a great way to spoof Mario! There are so many Mario spoofs on the internet and I feel like Fix-It Felix is probably the best one I’ve ever seen. Showing the Mario character as overly sunny and sort of privileged, in contrast with the down-trodded Donkey Kong character. It’s a really interesting angle on it. It’s a much more interesting way to make Mario funny than “he’s Italian so let’s make Italian jokes.”

Felix and Ralph’s dynamic really distills the heart of the dynamic between Mario and Donkey Kong, especially in the arcade games. Even though the story to the arcade game is extremely simple, the moral lines between Mario and Donkey Kong were always meant to be a little blurry. Remember that in Donkey Kong Jr. the bad guy was actually Mario.

The removal of a princess or damsel, and changing Ralph into just a big guy instead of a gorilla is also a really smart move. If there was a girl, the story would have to be about the girl. And if he was a gorilla, the story would have to be about how he’s a gorilla. Just making them two guys really focuses on the relationship between the good cop and bad cop.

Oh huh! They did a really good job of translating that 30s-cartoon-inspired 80s manga aesthetic into 3D. In fact, they probably do a BETTER job than the Mario games. This movie’s art style preserves the wide mouths and rosy noses that the Mario franchise abandoned when it moved into 3D. And it looks really cool.

WHAT. I guess licensed characters are in this! At first I thought it was like Who Framed Roger Rabbit where the licensed characters play walk-on bit parts, but upon closer inspection they seem to have tight integration in the story. Disney must’ve secured the licensing deals before writing the script. Which is really cool.

Man, Zangief is great.

I read some YouTube commenters complaining that Zangief isn’t a bad guy. Ha ha ha. KIDS THESE DAYS.

Zangief is a Russian character introduced in 1987. He is a bad guy.

Russian + 80s = Bad guy.


Felix/Mario has a B-plot that’s about how he actually really cares about Ralph/Donkey Kong. INTO IT.

I love the choices they made with the “gamer” character.

It’s really neat how the characters travel between games via a power strip and power cables. Rather than like, the internet. It’s neat that the mechanics of this world are based more on how you think video games work as a kid and less on how the technology actually works. Also works a lot like Monsters, Inc.

It’s also a really cool, not-for-nothin’ observation that the archetypical villain in an 80s game looks a lot like the archetypical hero in a 00s game.

Man, Jack McBrayer as Mario is such perfect casting. Like, of COURSE the correct direction to go with a Mario parody is “southern bumpkin” and not “Italian”… It really does a great job of characterizing Felix as being both likable and oblivious to the torment he’s causing Ralph.

Sugar Rush is a cool name for a Mario Kart clone.

Sarah Silverman’s character design is … ehh….

But Jane Lynch as a Samus Aran parody is AWESOME.

Ralph can talk to the player through the screen. Cool.

This scene is kind of the weakest part of the trailer… But it’s also interesting that they showed what a few lines of typical dialog in this movie would sound like. Instead of showing an onslaught of jokes and pratfalls and weirdly avoiding any completed sentences — like the Brave trailer. This part isn’t very compelling but it’s super honest and makes me more confident in spending money on the movie.

Can we just talk about how great this 8-bit art is? Good 8 bit art is all about economizing colors and pixels. Trying to get as much detail in as few squares as possible. This pixel art is just really classic and perfect.

Also, man, good logo! And what a great title! It’s easy to say and the trailer basically explains to you the meaning behind it. He’s a guy that wrecks stuff and doesn’t want to wreck stuff! That’s a title we can all identify with! It’s basically the opposite of Prometheus.

Everything about this movie just looks so great.

I believe this YouTube comment sums it up best:

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