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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Wreck it Ralph

Imagine living in a video game in one of many video arcades where fun and adventure rules and everything is possible. It's just a pity that the sum total of your existence is scrupulously proscribed by the Big Brother of cyberspace and manipulated by the contending fingers of heated rivals and over-eager video game junkies. Yes, being the iconic moral fibre of video games is hard work, even if you are the villain or anti-hero.
Wreck it Ralph is undoubtedly one of the most exhilarating and imaginative animated films in years, following in the innovative tradition of Emmy Award-winning director Rich Moore's TV cult classics The Simpsons and Futurama, and Disney/Pixar's Brave and Disney's Frankenweenie. What makes Wreck it Ralph absolutely unique and provides the most fun you'll have in years, is that it allows you to take a journey into a world beyond the buttons/ controls of your PlayStation/computer. You will have an intimate experience of the extraordinary universe of video games, becoming closely acquainted with their intricate mechanics and rules through the eyes and actions of their delightful characters.

The good-guy star of the game

Our anti-hero is Ralph, who has been overshadowed for 30 years by Fix-It Felix Jr, the good-guy star of the game who always gets to save the day. Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he's got what it takes to be a hero. Ralph, the underdog bully, is nothing but a soulful puppy dog who has to wreck it all for a living, but yearns to build the home and friends he does not have. Ralph's jovial adversary Felix is the king of this video game and wins tons of medals rebuilding Ralph's carnage.

David and Goliath in reverse

This is David and Goliath in reverse, where the giant needs to win the affections of Beanstalk Jack, and through his disparaging quest, discovers a world beyond reward.

Wreck it Ralph is escapism at its most stimulating (in 3D or 2D), a captivating on-the-edge-of-your-seat journey, and intriguing entertainment that is meaningful and not mean spirited. It rightly reflects a war-torn and wretched world, where the freedom of humanity is enslaved by superpowers that can pull the plug at any minute, and the longing for change to break the chains that imprisons cultural division. It's not a film that hits you over the head with its meaningful intent, but allows for wholesome enjoyment that the entire family can enjoy and take home with them. It's got everything you are looking for in film: adventure, suspense, daredevil chase sequences and indestructible monsters - the perfect recipe for a passionate video game junkie.

This time round it's not the players who are in control of the game, but the filmmakers, pulling out all the stops as they plunge us into the games of Wreck it Ralph, Sugar Rush - colourful, candy-coated cart-racing game - and Hero's Duty - the gritty, hostile and enemy-infested land that holds that coveted medal Ralph seeks. The film showcases the art and awe of animation, showing that there is nothing wrong with believing the impossible, it is okay to let the inner child play, and it is vital to reboot your imagination to travel aeons beyond its programmed competence.

It is guaranteed that when you leave the cinema, you will gladly want to swap your life with that of video game icons; you will also realise that bullies are cuddly kittens in disguise and that we all need a Ralph to salvage the unnecessary wreckage in our lives that causes so much malevolent dissonance.

Two lucky fans can win an awesome Wreck it Ralph hamper consisting of an arcade alarm clock, kids watch and T-shirt, notepad, roller stamp, water bottle and sticker set. Go to

Behind the scenes

"Wreck-It Ralph is a road movie," said screenwriter Phil Johnston. "It's just a little more complicated with four different worlds. But whether your character's stuck in a small town or in a land made of candy, someone has left home in search of something bigger. Ralph may go to these fantastic, diverse places, but he's always true to himself - even as his character evolves.

"One of the really cool things about this movie is that the characters are real-despite being arcade-game characters," continued Johnston. "They're real people with real feelings."

That emotion is what will most appeal to audiences, said producer John Lasseter. "The hallmark of a Disney film is the heart and it's the foundation of Wreck-It Ralph. It is one of the funniest films I've ever been associated with - so clever and beautiful. But it's the heart that just catches you by surprise."


About Daniel Dercksen

As a freelance film and theatre journalist for more than 30 years, published playwright and creator of the independent training initiative The Writing Studio, Daniel Dercksen received the number one spot for most popular lifestyle contributor for 2012, 2014 and 2015, and 2nd spot in 2016 on