The problems with “Wreck-It Ralph” lie in the fact that much of its humor relies on pop culture references to arcade fandom and less witty references to candy and sweets once we enter the world of “Sugar Rush.” Constant allusions, blatant and forced, provide the film with an obnoxious surge of anti-inspiration in where it tries to locate its funny bone. Instead, it feels like the movie borrows an entire skeletal system.
There simply arrives a point where the inventive potential of “Wreck-It Ralph” is sucked dry, and the movie’s genius idea has little room to travel once the plot gets stuck in a saccharine-soaked blur of cutesy characters and ineffective laughs. The concept of “Wreck-It Ralph” lays the groundwork for something special, but the ultimate premise simply can’t pave the way.
I was reminded a bit of “Toy Story,” especially in comparing the two universes in which fantasy characters come to life once humans are out of the picture. “Wreck-It Ralph’s” ingenious ideas of a Game Central Station, in which all games are traveled to via the wires in the arcade floor, is something that is never really built upon — just used as a creative, little crutch.
Imagine if the toys in “Toy Story” never left Andy’s room, and you have “Wreck-It Ralph.” It’s brilliantly animated and has some nice character moments, but all in all, it goes nowhere. It pulls the plug early on its creativeness, as if the filmmakers adopted the great idea of ‘Ralph’ solely with the intentions of wrecking it.