Story

In Wreck-it Ralph, video game villain Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) sets out to fulfil his dream of becoming a hero by winning a medal in a game. While his quest wreaks havoc on the arcade in which he lives, his journey leads to him becoming friends with and helping a young girl named Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). He also ultimately changes the lives of two fellow game characters, Felix and Calhoun (Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch).

Themes

Video game violence; self-acceptance; forgiveness; good versus evil; abuse of power

Violence

This movie has some violence. For example:

  • Ralph attends a group therapy session for villains. During the session, another game character says, ‘I crush a man’s head like a sparrow’s egg, but this does not mean I’m a bad guy’.
  • In the same therapy session, one character physically rips out the heart of another man, and holds it up for everyone else to see.
  • Ralph attempts to crash the 30th anniversary party of one of the other arcade games, but he gets angry and smashes the cake into pieces. He is told that he’s ‘just the bad guy who wrecks the building’.
  • When Ralph goes into a first-person-shooter game to search for a medal, giant robotic bugs shoot at him and his squadron and try to eat all of them. Ralph shoots back to defend himself. After a while, Ralph gets scared, runs up towards the camera and yells, ‘Why do video games have to be so violent?’
  • In a flashback sequence to Calhoun’s wedding, a robotic bug crashes through the window of the chapel. It eats the groom, and then an angry Calhoun fires at it with a large machine gun.
  • Felix, the stereotypical hero of the arcade, asks Calhoun to repeatedly hit him in the face. They are both falling deeper into quicksand, and the vines above them get lower when they see something they find funny. After Calhoun hits Felix multiple times, they can use the vines to escape.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example, in one of the first-person-shooter games that Ralph goes into, large robotic bugs attack humans. The bugs are large and monstrous, and they shoot and try to eat Ralph and his squadron. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • King Candy makes Ralph believe that he must destroy Vanellope’s car (something she loves) to protect her. Ralph smashes her car to pieces in front of her, as she cries and yells out helplessly in the background. Afterwards, she tells Ralph that he ‘really is a bad guy’.
  • Vanellope is trying to finish her race when King Candy drives up behind her and tries to crash her car. He also reaches over and tries to kill her. 

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example, the arcade characters seem to be drinking alcohol at their 30th anniversary celebration party.

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some sexual activity. For example, Calhoun and Felix kiss each other, after spending time together while searching for Ralph. 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

This movie has some coarse language, name-calling and put-downs. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Wreck-it Ralph is a heart-warming animated movie about one man’s journey towards self-acceptance. During Ralph’s adventures through various arcade games, the relationships he develops help him to appreciate other people’s feelings and also to realise that he isn’t the stereotypical villain society says he is. As he explores his identity, Ralph discovers that he has far more compassion than he ever imagined.

Older children will probably enjoy this movie, but violence and some scary characters make it unsuitable for children under eight years.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:

  • Believe in yourself and what you can achieve.
  • It’s OK to be different, and you don’t need to fit in with everyone else.
  • Always follow your dreams, regardless of how far away they seem.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as:

  • the importance of accepting others, regardless how the rest of society judges them
  • the way women are presented in the gaming world
  • the consequences of taking other people for granted, and not showing them how much you love them
  • the way that video game violence is presented, and what its real-life implications are.