The 52nd animated film from Disney's canon line-up, Wreck-It Ralph is about a villain living in the world of a 1980s eight-bit video game starring Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer), as one of the many machines in an arcade center. Ralph (John C. Reilly) is fed up with being disrespected as the bad guy for 30 years straight, so he sees an opportunity to become a hero within the sci-fi Light Gun GameHero's Duty featuring Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch). With his simple goal of winning a medal, he unwittingly brings a deadly enemy to another of the arcade's games, Racing GameSugar Rush, where he meets a "glitch" named Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) and tries to help her accomplish her goal of competing in a race. Meanwhile, Felix and Calhoun follow Ralph to Sugar Rush to fix the problems he's caused in both of their respective worlds.Directed by Rich Moore, who was a former director on The Simpsons and later on The Critic and Futurama. It was released on November 2, 2012. Watch the teaser trailer here, which was released during E3 2012. There's also a theatrical trailer and international trailer as well. The film is preceded by the animated short Paperman.The film was extremely well received at the box office, and held the number one spot for at least two weeks before being knocked off by The Hobbit as well as winning a few awards (at least five wins at the Annies, a Critics' Choice Award, a National Board of Review award, and a Kids Choice Award among others). It was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, though it was beat out by fellow Disney flick, Pixar's Brave.
This film provides examples of:
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0% Approval Rating: What Ralph suffers from at the start of the film with the Nicelanders.
Actually Pretty Funny: King Candy puts on a pair of glasses, hoping Ralph wouldn't hit him. Ralph just removes them and smacks Candy with the glasses.
King Candy: You hit a guy... with glasses. Heh heh, that's, that's well played.
Adaptational Villainy: Zangief of Street Fighter is here portrayed as a bad guy when he's really a decent guy- not a hero, exactly, but only because he doesn't know how serious the Street Fighter tournament really is (ie. he thinks its just an actual fighting tournament, with no World Domination stakes etc.).
Supposedly he's in there because one of the film-makers always had trouble against him in Street Fighter. To him, Zangief WAS a villain.
So who wants to have their sister figure lost in a National/Metaphysical Apocalypse Wow? Ralph certainly didn't, and King Candy preyed on his fear to ensure at any cost that Vanellope didn't race.
As with Toy Story 3, being considered obsolete and forced out of work despite being perfectly capable of doing your job is pretty scary.
Advertised Extra: A few posters were made with actual videogame characters in the center (likethese) when in the film their roles are at most extended cameos.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In an odd inversion, the Cy-Bugs, who, thanks to their simple, mindless, animalistic programming, are incredibly dangerous if they're let out of Hero's Duty. While every other NPC is, at the very least, self-aware and follows the game's parameters, the bugs do not—they are only kept in check by the beacon in Hero's Duty, which recalls and destroys them when the game isn't being played. If they ever escaped, they would never stop consuming and multiplying.
The Alcoholic: Gene is frequently seen with a martini in his hand, and his floor/room of the building cake was rum cake.
The Alleged Car: Vanellope's first car, dubbed the Lickety-Split, wasn't much to look at, didn't even have an engine, and was entirely pedal-powered. It's unlikely it would have ever offered any serious competition in the race and it was destroyed very easily by the other Sugar Rush racers... who finished the job for her.
The All Solving Hammer: Felix's magic hammer, quite literally. Not entirely all-solving, though, as he finds out in the Fun Dungeon.
Amazon Chaser: Felix, who falls for Calhoun. While Calhoun is a normal-sized woman in her own game (though a bit on the tall side), compared with Felix she might as well be Fasolt or Fafnir.
American Kirby Is Hardcore: Kirby doesn't appear in this movie himself, but this trope is in full effect regarding movie posters. Most of the posters feature Ralph proudly flexing in front of a dark blue backdrop with various characters beside him depending on the poster. The Japanese poster◊ is quite different: It has a shocked Ralph and Vanellope racing on a track in the game Sugar Rush with a bright yellow backdrop. The movie's title is also called ''Sugar Rush''. It is also the only poster to feature King Candy on it.
Amusing Injuries: Felix has Calhoun repeatedly injure him to attract some Laffy Taffy in Sugar Rush, fixing himself with his hammer after each hit. Ralph also gets his fair share during his Training Montage with Vanellope.
Vanellope suffers one herself during the Training Montage. She eats the car's dashboard in a crash and loses a tooth. Cue a tooth-spit and big toothless grin!
Ralph inadvertently kills Felix when he crashes the party. Fortunately he can respawn, so no harm done. Killing the guest of honour is quite clearly a serious faux pas though.
Markowski from Hero's Duty screaming like a little girl and knocking himself out running into a wall has to count!
Cyborgnote who is quite clearly really Kano ripping Cyril's... Zombie's heart out is treated like a big joke. Given how he's a zombie he probably doesn't really need it anyway.
The Bad-Anon group gets it dead right from the beginning - "There's nobody I'd rather be than me."
There's also at least two disguised moral lessons for the children in the audience: selfishness can have dire consequences, and bullying is uncool. Every one is unique and important and stereotypes are harmful. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
Ancestral Tool: Felix's magic fixing hammer was given to him by his father (remember, he's Felix Junior).
Animated Actors: All of the video game characters (except the Cy-Bugs) are self-aware and play their roles for the gamers. Ralph kickstarts the plot when he gets dissatisfied with his job and breaks character.
Animesque: The Sugar Rush universe and its characters seem to take cues from "cutesy anime" templates. Its theme song is even a J-Pop number, sung by AKB48. The game itself is apparently a Japanese import.
Sergeant Calhoun has very large animesque eyes hidden under her hair and apparently a tanto.
Apocalypse How: Individual games are treated as the Regional version: a class 4 happens if a game is destroyed by viruses, and a regional class 6 happens if a game is unplugged. Sugar Rush narrowly averts a regional class 4, which would have escalated to a global class 4 had the Cybugs spread to the rest of the arcade
Arc Symbol: The medals reflects/represents Ralph's desires and Character Development. The Hero's Duty medal he achieved through game-jumping represents his selfish need to be loved and respected, while the one given to him by Vanellope as an appreciation for helping her build a car represents his selfless devotion to his friend(s).
Arc Words: "Going Turbo." And before you ask, yes, the capital T is important.
As well as: "I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me."
Arm Cannon: As the first demonstration of their assimilation ability, a Cy-Bug that eats Ralph's rifle promptly morphs its forelimbs into rifles and chases after him.
Ralph: If Vanellope was never meant to exist, then why is her picture on the side of the game console?
Inverted with Felix and Ralph. When Felix asks him if he knows what it's like to be rejected and treated like a criminal, Ralph delivers the Armour Piercing Answer, "Yes, that's every day of my life".
Artificial Stupidity: Spoofed with the PTSD-inflicted Space Marine Markowski in Tapper who constantly walks into a wall and repeats "We are humanity's last hope", as if suffering from faulty routing and looping sound files.
Art Shift: The ending credits have the main characters moving through various eras of video game animation, though for obvious reasons they don't bother with present-day. This also happens in the film proper when Ralph moves from Pac-Man back to Game Central Station, not to mention his own game in the beginning. Overall, all of the characters (except those from Hero's Duty) are much more realistic and better-defined in their "private lives" than on their own game-screens; in fact Felix's adoration of Calhoun's "high definition" is somewhat puzzling, since he's not exactly 8-bit himself when he's off his own screen.
There are some small details that differ between 8-bit and HD characters offscreen from their games, however. Even though both of them have 3D models, Felix has a fairly uniform color scheme and minimal shading, whereas Calhoun has a more realistic skin texture (even freckles, if you look closely) and her armor has dents/scratches in it, among other things. This distinction is lost when viewed from the credits, however, as everyone is depicted in 8-bit, 16-bit, or 3D-ish pixels throughout the sequence.
Ascended Glitch: In-Universe, everyone wants to play as Vanellope in Sugar Rush because her glitching helps her win.
Aside Glance: King Candy gives a very quick one during his extremely exposition-filled speech before the race when he says the phrase, "This event is pay to play; we all know this."
Assimilation Backfire: The main villains include Cy-Bugs, which take on the features of whatever they eat. A Cy-Bug eats King Candy, who is assimilated a little too well and becomes said Cy-Bug's primary consciousness.
Also, the Cy-Bugs from Hero's Duty are metallic from eating the metal environment around them. When they were in Sugar Rush, they ate and became the candy from the game, making it easier for Ralph to simply smash them - the exception being those that ate jawbreakers and are subsequently even tougher than the metal ones.
As You Know: When King Candy is explaining the nightly roster race. Lampshaded in that he says, "we all know this."
Attention Whore: Turbo was the best racer in the most popular racing game in the arcade. When a new racing game steals attention from him, he gets extremely jealous and jumps into the new game just to crash it. Unfortunately, his antics gets both the new game and his own game unplugged.
Audience Surrogate: Not with a character but a setting. Sugar Rush, a mascot kart racer in Level Ate, is probably the easiest video game for anyone to understand and still remain unique to video games.
There is also the mousy, glasses-wearing girl who hops between arcade games when they become plot relevant.
Awesome Moment of Crowning: Vanellope at the end when she is returned to her place as princess of Sugar Rush. She then subverts it in favor of being president.
Badass Adorable: Felix. It probably helps that he's basically a MarioExpy. At one point during the punch & hammer gag, he takes on a close resemblance to Mario himself, and his death animation is oddly similar to Mario's death animation in Donkey Kong.
Ralph himself, especially once he starts softening towards Vanellope.
Vanellope is certainly badass adorable as well. Ralph himself describes her as an "Adorable Winner", which is about as close to the phrase "Badass Adorable" as you can get without resorting to potty mouth.
Vanellope: Ralph, what if the gamers don't like me? Ralph: Who doesn't love a brat with dirty hair?
Moppet Girl, when she takes hold of the gun controller for Hero's Duty.
Badass in Distress: Felix goes to look for and rescue Ralph. Inverted when Ralph has to save Vanellope and Felix, and played straight when Vanellope stops Ralph from going through with his Heroic Sacrifice.
Badass Driver: The Sugar Rush cast, crossing over with Badass Adorable. Turbo probably, and definitely Vanellope.
Battle Couple: Calhoun and Felix. The latter's even shown in the credits shooting Cy-Bugs with his wife.
Be Careful What You Wish For: After Ralph brings back the promised medal to prove to the Nicelanders he can get one in return for getting the keys to the apartment penthouse, Fix-It Felix Jr. has already been declared out of order and will be unplugged soon due to Ralph and Felix's absence. As promised, Ralph wins the bet and gets the keys to the penthouse in a doomed game, having unwillingly broken a little girl's heart as well as his own to do it. This leads him to a My God, What Have I Done? moment.
Ralph: I just didn't want to live alone in a dump! Gene: Well, now you can live alone in a penthouse.
Being Evil Sucks: It can really suck to be a video game villain. Nobody appreciates the hard work you put into your villainy, you don't get any of the glory like the hero does, and in Ralph's case, he's constantly thrown off the edge of a tall building when Felix saves the day, only to go home to the dump and sleep on a bed made of broken bricks.
When Ralph wrecks the race-track upon arriving in Sugar Rush, one of the candy-bodied audience members ends up chasing after its own head.
Sgt. Calhoun's flashbacks are played partly for laughs, considering she's been programmed with "the most tragic back story ever."
In the 'Bad-Anon' meeting, Kano expresses his appreciation for Zombie's share by ripping out his heart!
After Vanellope crosses the finish line and resets the game—thus returning her status as princess and letting everyone remember who she really is, what does she plan to do to the racers who were bullying her earlier? Execute them. Calhoun then remarks that "this place just got interesting" with a Psychotic Smirk on her face. Vanellope's just kidding, though.
Mr. Litwak has a couple of darkly comedic comments:
Litwak: Looks like the game's gone cuckoo! Like my nana. (Few minutes later) Litwak: It might be time to put ol' Ralph and Felix out to pasture... like my nana.
Bland-Name Product: The Turbo Time machine's logo and coloring strongly resembles the 1980 arcade game Rally-X, and Turbo himself is a dead ringer for the tall, lanky driver on the side of the arcade cabinet.
Blessed with Suck: Normally Felix loves his special fixing powers — except for the one occasion he wants to actually break something: Whacking prison bars with his hammer only makes them grow twice as strong and thick.
Felix: Why do I fix everything I touch?!
Cursed with Awesome: Vanellope's glitching means she has a few basic visual shifts at times at the start, and she occasionally (accidentally) teleports into other objects, which almost causes a lot of damage to her home. She later learns how to utilize the shifting she does when distressed, turning it into a functional teleport. Even later, this is revealed to be seen as a Good Bad Bug by players, making her the most popular character.
Both tropes mirrored with Ralph, who laments his propensity to wreck everything, though he does eventually find ways to use his powers for good.
Blue with Shock: Clyde reacts like this when Ralph expresses how tired he is of being the bad guy and everyone fears he's thinking of "going Turbo". This is, of course, what happened to the ghosts in Pac-Man whenever Pac-Man picked up a power pill and started hunting them.
M.Bison: "You're not "Going Turbo" are you?" Ralph: "What!? No! Is it Turbo to want a friend? Or a medal? Or a piece of pie every once in a while? Is it Turbo to want more out of life?" Zombie: "Yes!"
Body Horror: Every single time a Cy-Bug eats. Especially after eating King Candy during the climax.
Bonus Stage: In the epilogue, Felix and Ralph let several homeless characters move into their game by setting up a bonus level where they assist in wrecking the house while Q-Bert assists Felix in fixing it. Thanks to retro appeal, this makes the game even more popular. And as part of Street Fighter's cameo references, Ralph is also shown participating in its bonus level (helping Ryu smash that car).
Book Ends: The movie starts and ends with Ralph explaining about his game, scenes from that game, cakes for the 30th Anniversary party, and him in the Bad-Guys Anonymous talking about taking it "one game at a time."
The movie itself. Starts off with the Walt Disney Animation Studios logo and Mickey Mouse rendered as 8-bit graphics, and at the very end of the movie, after the credits, when the Disney logo shows up, the "movie" reaches a Kill Screen (specifically one heavily based on the one from Pac-Man).
The film also begins and ends with the same beeping noise. In the beginning the beeping comes from the Fix-It Felix Jr. cabinet in the first shot of the film, while at the end it comes from the flashing "Press Start" message right before the Creative Closing Credits start.
When the Bad-Anon group says their Bad-Guy Mantra at the start (“I am Bad, and that’s Good. I will never be Good, and that’s not Bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me”), Ralph doesn’t join in, as he doesn’t believe in the mantras message. It’s not until the very end, when he’s willing to make his Heroic Sacrifice, that he finally recites the mantra, symbolizing the completion of his Character Development.
Born as an Adult: Felix, Ralph, Calhoun, and all the adult characters if you believe that the moment their game is plugged in is their actual birthday.
Boss Battle: Invoked by the Big Bad during the film's climax ("Welcome to the boss level!"). It also helps that the top of Diet Cola Mountain is a large, round, flat venue (the typical shape of a Boss Room in 3D games) with volcanic-red lighting.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Revealed near the end to apply to the Sugar Rush characters, thanks to King Candy, who is actually Turbo in disguise, hacking into the system and turning Vanellope into a glitch.
Break Her Heart To Save Her: Ralph destroys the car he helped make for Vanellope to keep her from racing, having been convinced by King Candy that her success could potentially have the game unplugged and kill her along with it.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: In an in-universe example, Ralph does this, in Hero's Duty when he grabs the player's in-game "robot" and yells his "When did video games become so violent and scary?!" line into its monitor... promptly causing the player to lose the game. Yep, there's a reason why the Fourth Wall exists in this realm. Calhoun even chews him out for it, stating that the first rule of the game is to not interfere with the player.
During Ralph's My God, What Have I Done? moment in the penthouse, he throws his medal at the screen, causing one side of the "Out of Order" sign on the other side of the screen to come unstuck.
During the anniversary party, Ralph asks what flavor was used for part of the cake. Much to his dismay, it turns out to be chocolate, which he hates (it reminds him of the mud puddle he lands in after being thrown off the Nicelanders' building). During his time in Sugar Rush, he falls into a pond of chocolate. And even later, after Vanellope saves him in the climax and they wind up in another pond after escaping the volcano; only this time he's more than happy to land in it, commenting "I love chocolate!". Then one final time in the Creative Closing Credits sequence.
During the hunt for Ralph, Calhoun mentions she'll slap Ralph for bringing a Cy-Bug outside of her game. Sure enough, that's exactly what she does.
When we first encounter the Surge Protector, Ralph is smuggling cherries back from Pac-Man. In The Stinger, Ralph can be seen carrying cherries again at the bottom of the Pac-Manesque Kill Screen.
Part of Calhoun's backstory involves her wedding being interrupted by a Cy-Bug, which came through the window and ate her fiancé. At her wedding with Felix, which takes place in the same chapel, all of the soldiers present are aiming their laser sights at that window.
Double-striped candy canes disappear when touched. Unfortunate for Calhoun and Felix that nobody told them that.
When Ralph gets Markowski to tell him about the medals in Hero's Duty, he says "Oooh!" twice in an identical tone— when he climbs to the top of the tower and sees the medal for himself, he says "Oooh!" a third time in exactly the same way.
Ralph struggles to break a presumably unbreakable Jaw Breaker. Later, Calhoun's bullets bounce off a Jaw Breaker-headed Cybug.
Ralph left Sour Bill stuck to a lollipop. After the Sugar Apocalypse has been reverted and Vanellope has been reinstated as the rightful ruler of Sugar Rush, Sour Bill is there to play herald, even though he's still stuck to the lollipop.
Remember the cheat sheet King Candy used to get into the Sugar Rush programming? It's there on the table at Tapper's in the closing sequence.
A subtle one: When the arcade opens, a sign next to the door reads "No outside food or drinks allowed in arcade". A couple scenes later, we see one of the guys playing Sugar Rush has a cup from Subway.
All of the bricks in Ralph's dump are used to build homes for Ralph and the homeless games in the end.
Bring My Brown Pants: Calhoun says that if any soldier feels like they are going to wet themselves in battle, they should just keep it to themselves.
Bullet Time: Vanellope enters this when she mentally works out how to use her glitch to her advantage, before being crushed between Turbo's car bumper and a cave column.
Time also slows down considerably when Ralph and the Cy-Bug fly by Calhoun and Felix in the escape pod.
There's also a short instance of this when Vanellope passes King Candy in the final race.
Bully Hunter: Even though Vanellope had just stolen his medal, Ralph can't stand to see the other racers picking on her and scares them off. The thing that sets him off is seeing her pushed into a chocolate mud puddle, a situation he can relate to.
Butt Monkey: Ralph and Vanellope are both this in their own games. Felix outside of his game.
Cain and Abel: Subverted and then inverted. Ralph is clearly jealous of Felix being the favorite, but neither have ill feelings or are hostile towards one another. Felix eventually starts calling Ralph "brother" towards the end of the film.
Q*bert appears in the movie, and is the one to tell Felix where Ralph went. He also appears in the Game Central Station with numerous other characters from his game, sadly homeless. They eventually make it back into a certain someone's game.
Sonic himself appears in a Public Service Announcement at the station, telling everyone to be careful not to die in a gamethat's not their own, or else they won't regenerate afterwards. He's also visible in a few more places: dancing at Felix's party, seen walking around Game Central Station in two separate scenes (in background shots), Ralph crashes an escape pod into him (causing him to lose rings), as a picture on the celebrity wall at Tapper's, seated on Felix's side of the aisle in the chapel at Calhoun & Felix's wedding, and a short sprite-animated scene as part of the end credits. Sonic is voiced by Roger Craig Smith, who has voiced him in the games since 2010. Additionally, many of the movie's dubs into other languages (including Dutch, German, French and Spanish) use Sonic's voice from the cartoons as the games never received dubs until Sonic Generations.
The Celebrity Wall has several others, including Miles "Tails" Prower, Space Invaders, and others.
There are several blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos, such as the Qix swirling around the laser display at the 30th anniversary party, and the three Pac-Man ghosts other than Clyde chilling in Game Central Station.
In one quick shot in the terminal, you can see the dragon from Coryoon. That game only ever came out on the Turbo Grafx 16.
Camera Abuse: In-universe, no less. The camera robot in Hero's Duty is used by Ralph to shield himself against one of the Cy-Bugs when it lunges at him. It collides with the camera, which breaks the videoscreen, and causes the game to end. The sentient robot gets pissed off at Ralph for doing this.
Can Not Spit It Out: Several times the people in Ralph's video game ask him what is wrong, but Ralph can't vocalize that he feels disrespected.
Cardiovascular Love: Hearts appear around Felix and Calhoun when they kiss, courtesy of long vines of Laffy Taffy.
They also bloom in thin air around the couple when they share a Big Damn Kiss of victory at the end.
Catch-22 Dilemma: Sugar Rush Speedway invokes this trope. The nine racers who will be on next day's roster are decided by a race held after the arcade closes, and the entrance fee is a coin; those who don't place in the top 9 don't get on the roster, thus can't earn any coins that day, so if they use the last of their coins to enter the qualifying race and don't place, they can never again be on the roster and thus can't ever get any more coins. This is done to keep Vanellope, supposedly a glitch, from racing, though why it hasn't yet caught any of the others is not explained. However since King Candy does have access to the game's code and has proven he can alter character inventories, he probably can make sure that all of the other racers always have enough coins to enter.
Averted with the Japanese title, which is simply Sugar Rush.
Chekhov's Boomerang: Sgt. Calhoun mentions during Hero's Duty that the Cy-Bugs become what they eat. One of them eats Ralph's gun and then makes it part of its body, using the gun against him. In the climax, King Candy gets eaten by a Cy-Bug, causing him to transform into a Cy-Bug. Or more precisely, the Cy-Bug becomes him.
The Diet Cola and Mentos volcano in Vanellope's hideout is fired repeatedly: it is used to illustrate the danger of Vanellope's glitch, used to clean up all the Cy-Bugs, and used to force Turbo to his permanent Karmic Death, once he had combined with a Cy-Bug he was forced into it. The unfinished ramp spanning it was then used by Vanellope to save Ralph.
The medal is used to establish game jumping, enter Vanellope into the race, persuade Ralph to believe King Candy's story, and knock down the out-of-order sign to reveal Vanellope's true nature.
Chekhov's Skill: Ralph's ability to break things and Felix's ability to fix things near instantaneously keeps cropping up. Parodied when Felix tries to mimic Ralph and break himself out of prison. With his magic hammer. It goes predictably. Ralph busts him out moments later.
A noteworthy pair of examples of Ralph's Chekhov's Skill not working as previously shown are when he wrecks the Kart and the mountain.
Vanellope's glitching. It gives her a neat Teleport Spamand helps reveal who King Candy really is.
Colour-Coded For Your Convenience: According to the film makers, the characters colored venomous green are the ones who are truly evil. Note that Ralph is entirely green during his Hulk-like rampage through the stands. They were going to color Vanellope that way to signify her glitch status until they figured it made her look like a zombie. You can see what she would have looked like with green skin on the sign in the bakery forbidding glitches from entry.
Ralph and Felix themselves may count. Felix is dressed in mostly blue, the color for peace and serenity, while Ralph is dressed in mostly red, the color for intensity and anger.
Also, whenever Vanellope glitches, she turns shades of blue. However, Turboturns shades of red when he is forced to glitch out.
Commonality Connection: Though he is initially angry that she stole and lost his medal (which he himself stole), Ralph eventually decides to help Vanellope not just because it's the only way to get the medal back, but because her situation is almost identical to (if not worse than) his - from living in the dump, ostracized by others, to seeing the medal as their means of finally getting their due - and they bond over their shared dreams.
It's subtle, but Calhoun first agrees to let Felix come along after he says that it's his duty to fix what Ralph wrecks—something she would definitely understand.
"Why are your hands so freakishly big?" "Are you a hobo?"
Contralto of Danger: The tough-as-nails Space Marine Sergeant Calhoun has the lowest female voice (she is voiced by Jane Lynch) and is by far the most overtly badass character in the movie.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: Ralph forces Sour Bill to speak of King Candy's real intentions by licking him and putting him in his mouth. Given that Ralph is trying to be a good guy, and Sour Bill is made of candy, this comes disturbingly close to Carnivore Confusion territory.
Sour Bill: I SWEAR THAT'S ALL I KNOW JUST PLEASE DON'T PUT ME BACK IN YOUR FILTHY MOUTH AGAIN!!!
Covered in Gunge: This happens to Ralph quite a bit, especially in Sugar Rush (candy gunge, yes, but still).
Cover Identity Anomaly: When Ralph first meets Vanellope he pretends to be a resident of Sugar Rush, but she sees through this lie immediately because he clearly knows nothing about the world.
Covers Always Lie: Some of the posters which feature well-known game characters. Yes they're in the movie but they're not the focus of it. At best they're just cameo roles, or Sonic and Q*Bert, who provide important exposition. Q*Bert even becomes an Ascended Extra.
Cranium Chase: In the Sugar Rush Speedway game, some of Taffyta's fans are anthropomorphic lollipops, and when Ralph accidentally trashes the stands, part of the damage he does is to knock off the head of one such fan; which goes rolling along the ground whilst the body frantically chases it.
Crapsaccharine World: Sugar Rush. It looks like a bright and colorful candy dreamland, but its characters (especially the racers) are mean-spirited, its ruler King Candy is corrupt, and outcasts like Vanellope are treated like dirt. Ralph himself gets a pretty cold welcome when he first arrives. And with The Reveal, we learn that it is so much worse than that. Lampshaded when Calhoun actually calls the game a "saccharine-saturated nightmare".
Damn You, Muscle Memory: Real-life version; the animators were so used to creating realistic believable movement that they actually had to study and unlearn some of their habits in order to get the movements of the 8-bit characters (Tapper, Nicelanders, etc) to look correct and good.
Dangerous Device Disposal Debacle: Cy-Bugs are always recalled and vaporized between Hero's Duty games so they don't cause any more trouble than they have to. When Ralph accidentally activates one and sends it flying into Sugar Rush, it sinks into liquid taffy and Ralph thinks that's the end of that; it's dead and not worth worrying about. However, he doesn't actually confirm that the bug is dead, and Calhoun calls him out on this after finding its nest, where it feasted on candy and laid loads of eggs, making enough bugs to destroy Sugar Rush in minutes.
Dark and Troubled Past: Invoked, lampshaded, and parodied with Calhoun. According to one of her subordinates, she was programmed with "the most tragic backstory ever": her husband-to-be gets eaten on their wedding day because she forgot to do a perimeter check. She unloads, screaming in horror, with a minigun she happened to have tucked away under her wedding gown, fueling her hatred for the bugs. Later, Felix calls her "a dynamite gal", which sets off a blackly hilarious series of flashbacks of her to-be-fiancé calling her the same thing.
Darkest Hour: Vanellope's dreams of being a full racer have been literally broken, while Fix-It Felix Jr. is set to be unplugged in a couple of hours. Then after Ralph returns, the Cy-Bugs have taken over Sugar Rush.
Dark Reprise: The music that plays when the Sugar Rush characters bully Vanellope and destroy her kart is a darker version of the upbeat theme that plays during the roll-call for the race.
Sonic: If you die outside your own game, you won't regenerate. Ever. Game Over.
This lends weight to the characters' actions through most of the film, as they spend the majority of it in Sugar Rush, where only Vanellope is a native. It finally happens to King Candy/Turbo, himself an immigrant to Sugar Rush, when he gets sucked into a cola/Mentos eruption by the programming of the Cy-Bug he's merged with.
This will also happen, along with a full on Apocalypse, to whoever didn't make it out when the game's plug is pulled. This becomes a plot point twice because Vanellope cannot leave due to her glitch status.
Deconstructive Parody: Of video games. Ralph and most of the other video game baddies are nice enough guys who are basically doing the jobs that no one else wants. After all, who would want a job where all you do is get beat up by The Hero?
The movie becomes a Reconstruction into modern gaming by the end. Ralph travels worlds, battles a conspiracy, makes several difficult moral decisions, battles an evil mastermind in a climactic showdown and even pre-meditates a Heroic Sacrifice in the name of saving the one he loves. It's a plot very much like manypopularmoderngames, undertaken by a character inspired by classicgaming.
Vanellope gets in her kart to save Ralph, who was going to commit a Heroic Sacrifice.
After Calhoun's fiancé was killed at their wedding, her troops make sure her later wedding with Felix is covered in that spot as well.
Defrosting Ice Queen: Calhoun starts off cold, hard, and gruff. But after spending a little time with Felix, she (reluctantly) starts to soften up a little bit. After the movie's climax, she apparently softened up enough to marry Felix.
Destructive Savior: As well meaning as his intentions maybe, Ralph is just programmed to wreck things.
Determinator: All of the main characters exhibit constant and often stubborn determination in accomplishing their goals - which is used by the story itself several times to show how much they have in common. Felix and Calhoun both show a totally unwavering dedication to getting their jobs done, which briefly causes them to argue when they first team up. Likewise, Ralph and Vanellope never give up on obtaining the thing they think will make their lives better, even when they know doing it is a terrible idea. On the villainous side, Turbo will stop at nothing to give himself the spotlight - no matter who he has to attack to do it. Even when his previous selfish attempt failed so utterly that it put him and dozens of others out of their homes, all he learns from the situation is to do it again but more sneakily.
Deuteragonist: Vanellope. In fact, the Disney Wiki uses this word for her.
Difficult but Awesome: In-story, Vanellope's glitch is presented as a disability that seriously hampers her racing ability, but once she learns to control it, it becomes a very powerful special ability; this may be why, at the end, she becomes so popular with the players.
Dimensional Traveler: All non-glitch characters can do this by "game-jumping", though they usually limit it to after-hours when the arcade is closed. Ralph actually starts out in Pac-Man, his narration notwithstanding.
Dirty Business: When Ralph wrecks the candy go-kart he and Vanellope made.
Disaster Dominoes: When Vanellope and Ralph try to bake a kart, Ralph shoots a couple targets, meant to decorate the car. He ends up breaking one, which goes and knocks all the others and completely breaks the minigame. Surprisingly, they still manage to get a fully-functional car out of it.
Does Not Like Shoes: Ralph is barefoot. It fits in with his "Wild Man" design. Also constitutes Barefoot Poverty, as Ralph lives in a dump in the Fix-It Felix Jr. world. He's even barefoot during the wedding of Calhoun and Felix.
Does Not Like Spam: Played with. While Ralph has no problem with the cherries that come from Pac-Man, he does not enjoy the taste of chocolate. He gets better, symbolizing his desire to take life "one game at a time."
Vanellope's glitching is almost treated as some kind of illness or disease similar to epilepsy or even Parkinson's Disease by the other racers. She even refers to herself as having "pix-lexia". Also, the racers picking on her and eventually destroying the race car she made is basically playground bullying at recess.
The dialogue for the Laffy Taffy scene sounds like something from a bad S&M porno when taken out of context.
Ralph is constantly stopped and singled out for "random" security checks by the security guard, even though he is doing nothing wrong (aside from smuggling fruit, which said guard misses completely). When Ralph is dressed in a Hero's Duty uniform, the guard ignores him.
When Felix tells Calhoun about his last sight of Ralph, he sounds like a person who failed to see the signs of a future suicide.
Calhoun: So what's with this Wreck-it joker? Why'd he go AWOL? Felix: I wish I knew, Ma'am. He was acting all squirrely last night, going on about cake and medals, but I never thought he'd go Turbo.
Donut Mess with a Cop: In Sugar Rush, all the non-racer characters are some form of sentient confectionery. The cops are, of course, donuts. Their names are Wynchell and Duncan, referencing two donut chains. For bonus points, Wynchell is a Long John, a type of donut more commonly found in the western US, where Wynchell's has the most locations.
Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Invoked. Calhoun provides Felix with a solitary Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! slap while they are stuck in the Nesquiksand, which reveals that the "vines" they can't reach are actually Laffy Taffy that happen to find the idea of Calhoun hitting Felix hilarious. Though the vines believe in the double standard, Calhoun clearly does not, and is reluctant to indulge the vines at Felix's insistence even when he reveals he can heal himself instantly. He does eventually get her to play along. Her concern is justified but averts any sort of female caretaker overtones since both are outside of their games at the time and so there's the possibility that if Felix can't heal himself properly, she could very well beat him to death.
Drives Like Crazy: To be expected in a racing game. In particular, Vanellope and her glitch/teleport. When, in the roster race, she teleports in front of her three main tormentors and causes them to crash out, she's driving backwards for a while.
Driving Stick: The Sugar Rush cars have a clutch; neither Ralph nor Vanellope have any idea what any of the pedals are even called, and Ralph even refers to them as buttons at first. Cue hilarious Training Montage.
Ralph's comment on the clutch could be a reference to the handful of arcade racing games that have a physical (but useless) clutch pedal, even when playing on manual transmission. A kid-friendly kart racing game certainly wouldn't dare to force people to use a realistic clutch.
Drowning My Sorrows: Ralph appears to be trying to do this... in Tapper, appropriately enough. It's hinted to be fairly common with him, as when he doesn't show up for work, Felix first assumes he's passed out at Tapper's.
Drunk on Milk: Even though it's implied that Tapper serves Root Beer, a few of the characters are seen intoxicated. Specifically, one of the soldiers from Hero's Duty. This is probably because the original Tapperwas designed for bars and served Budweiser. The root beer version came later when the Moral Guardians protested a beer-serving game in kiddie arcades.
Dub Name Change: Save Vanellope, all of the Sugar Rush racers got either their last names or their full names changed in the Brazilian version of the movienote And if the name is not mentioned in the movie, it can be found in the online game adaption. The Danish and Norwegian dubs changed every single Sugar Rush character's name, even changing Vanellope to simply Vanilla.
Click to check their Brazilian names Racers:
Taffyta Muttonfudge changed to Taffyta Calda de Caramelo (Taffyta Caramel Syrup)
Crumbelina DiCaramello changed to Crumbelina Quebra-Queixo (Crumbelina Jawbreaker)
Gloyd Orangeboar changed to Gloyd Laranja-Lima (Gloyd Lime-Orange)
Adorabeezle Winterpop changed to Adora Pirulitéia (from "pirulito" (lollipop))
Minty Zaki changed to Menta Zaki (Mint Zaki)
Snowanna Rainbeau changed to Nevana Arco-Íris (From "neve" (snow) and "arco-íris" (rainbow))
Rancis Fluggerbutter changed to Rancis Arroz-Doce (Rancis Sweet-Rice)
Jubileena Bing-Bing changed to Jujubinha Bing Bing (a diminutive form of "jujuba" (gumdrop))
Swizzle "The Swizz" Malarkey changed to Swizzle "A Suíça" Caramelada ("A Suíça" means "The Swiss", "Caramelada" means "Caramelized". The name seems oddly feminine.)
Candlehead changed to Velusca (from "vela" (candle) and possibly the name "Veruska")
Dummied Out: In-Universe examples include Vanellope's home in Diet Cola Mountain, which she describes as looking like an unfinished level, and the reveal that she's only a glitch because the Big Bad tried to delete her from the game's source code.
Dying as Yourself: A rare villainous example. As the Cy-Bug King Candy is destroyed, it alternates between the hypnotized Candy and the protesting Turbo, the latter being in charge as the body is melted by the volcano.
Dying Moment of Awesome: Subverted, Ralph fully intends to sacrifice himself to stop the Cy-Bugs, but is saved at the last second by Vanellope.
Earn Your Happy Ending: Ralph struggles to be heroic and nearly destroys the arcade world because of his mistakes, but manages to fix things, earn well-deserved respect, and more than make up for the harm he unwittingly caused to his game and Sugar Rush.
Easily Forgiven: Played with, humorously. In the end, Vanellope's bullies all scrounge for forgiveness, after she's revealed to be the rightful ruler of Sugar Rush. Vanellope orders them all put to death, then pardons them after they spend a good few seconds in pants-wetting, teary terror.
It doesn't take very long for Felix to forgive Ralph for what he's put him through. This is partially because Felix is simply just too nice a guy to hold a grudge for long, and partly because he's got a taste of what things are like from Ralph's point of view for the first time.
Shortly after, when Ralph breaks into Vanellope's fungeon cell with her car now fully repaired. Granted, she would have to be pretty spiteful to turn down his help when she can choose between trying to accomplish her dream or staying locked up, but after a few apologies from Ralph, she's pretty much over what she saw as a devastating betrayal.
Finally, when Sugar Rush is about to be destroyed by Cybugs, Vanellope forgives Ralph for inadvertently causing it and for causing her own impending death because she can't leave with a quiet "It's okay, Ralph".
Subverted in the Bake-A-Car mini-game. Despite trashing the set, the resulting vehicle is miraculously functional.
Played straight later on when Fix-It Felix tries to finally wreck something.
Felix: Why do I fix everything I touch?!
Eureka Moment: This happens with Vanellope when King Candy calls her a glitch while trying to ram her into a cave column, having her realize that she can glitch out of harm's way.
Ralph has one before that when he throws his hard-earned medal at his game's monitor, dislodging the Out of Order sign on the other side... and giving him a clear view of Vanellope's image on the side of the arcade cabinet.
Ralph has one later when Calhoun explains why the Cy-Bugs in Sugar Rush are much more dangerous due to the lack of a beacon to keep them in check.
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Parodied when Calhoun yells for the troops in Hero's Duty to make their mothers proud, and Ralph shouts back that he loves his mama. Justified in that he's only "officially" a bad guy.
Everyone Has Standards: Ralph definitely does not like Vanellope at all in the first act of the film, but he still gets very indignant when he sees her getting bullied.
Expy: All of the principal leads in this film are expies of video game characters in some way. Disney also got the rights to use actual video game characters for cameos rather than just expies, a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Toy Story.
Ralph himself is basically a human Donkey Kong. The hero of the game, Felix, is an imitation of Mario (or, as he was called back in Donkey Kong, Jumpman).
The names Fix-It Felix and Wreck-It Ralph are similar to that of obscure franchise Hammerin' Harry complete with similar catchphrases. And indeed, the beginning of the film shows Ralph's house getting demolished to make place for a series of apartments, which is exactly what happens to Hammerin' Harry at the beginning of the game. Observe. Wreck-It Ralph also alludes to Wrecking Crew, which starred a hammer-wielding Mario.
Sgt. Calhoun could be based on any number of commando characters from video games. But in particular seems to be a cross between Samus and a Female Shepard, with the language kept family-friendly.
Sugar Rush at first seems like any other kart racing game from the '90s, only it's themed on candy. But Rich Moore stated that his favorite current game is Mario Kart, which means that's the basic inspiration. Indeed, it seems like a cross between Mario Kart and Candy Land. Also, portions of the Sugar Rush race course are clearly taken from various Mario Kart 64 courses, with the candy theme substituted in.
In regards to King Candy, Turbo, in addition to being the name of a Sega arcade game, is basically a knock-off of the marquee chalky-skinned mascot from the Bally/Midway game Rally X. His King Candy persona is one of The Wizard from The Wizard of Oz. He comes from another land (his own game), is leading his subjects on through manipulation and usurping the rightful ruler and having their memories locked away (Ozma and Vanellope), the hero comes to him for a favor (in Ralph's case, the medal he got from Hero's Duty), while he asks of something in return that involves the "villain" (Vanellope, which he calls "The Glitch", and smashing her candy car), and is ultimately a fraud hiding behind another image that makes the hero appreciate the things they have in life. Heck, there's even some cute allusions with the fact he's ruling over what can be considered Munchkins (the other candy racers) and has Oreo guards which chant in the same fashion as those from the movie.
King Candy is also noted to have some unsettling similarities to Judge Doom due to both characters using disguises throughout the majority of their respective films and possessing unnerving true forms.
In the same way that King Candy is an Expy of The Wizard of Oz Vanellope is seen as one for Princess Ozma in the sense that she's the rightful ruler of the kingdom and was ousted through trickery, and has no memory of who she really is. And like Ozma she's eventually restored to her rightful place.
The arcade owner, Mr. Litwak, looks a very great deal like Walter Day.
Fake King: King Candy wound up taking the throne from Vanellope before the events of the movie, erasing everyone's memories to fit. He's actually Turbo, having reskinned himself.
Fake Memories: Everything the game characters remember about their backstory didn't actually happen; it's just part of their character design. It's specifically noted how Calhoun was designed with "the most tragic backstory ever".
Fallen Hero: Turbo, though he's strongly implied to have been an asshole even before he became evil.
Played with. Calhoun and her men are initially equipped with what appear to be plasma-based collapsible rifles. If one looks very closely (and slows down the footage) in the scene where they're shooting at Felix when he first enters Hero's Duty, though, spent casings can be seen falling out of the rifles as they're fired, although they still appear to be shooting lasers/plasma. Calhoun herself, however, also keeps a sidearm that's clearly using ballistics. She even checks the magazine before game jumping to Sugar Rush. This probably got a pass because the first time she fired it was for intimidation and the second time, the targets were immune to bullets anyway.
King Candy A.K.A. Turbo gets eaten alive by a Cybug. That's pretty Family Unfriendly right there, but then it turns out one family unfriendly death is not the end for him and he goes all One-Winged Angel. Fortunately, Ralph defeats him (as well as all the other Cybugs) by causing the Diet Cola Volcano to erupt. Since "Turbo" is now just a Cybug with Turbo's memories, the Cybug's programming takes over and he starts flying into the geyser. Last thing we see of Turbo is him glitching between a hypnotized "King Candy" and his real face, which is screaming in horror as he flies into the geyser and immolates himself.
King Candy manages to convince Ralph that, if Vanellope is promoted to playable status, the players will see her glitches and assume the game is broken, forcing the arcade to decommission the machine. While player characters and NPCs will manage to evacuate safely, glitches like Vanellope won't, and will get sucked alive into a painful black hole of deletion, along with the game environment.
Kano ripping out a zombie's heart at the meeting that opens the movie.
The ways Cy-Bugs are dispatched in Hero's Duty. It's lampshaded by Ralph: "When did video games become so violent and scary?!"
Fantastic Racism: The villains are treated so poorly that they need to create a support group, while the characters of Sugar Rush act this way towards any and all glitches (though it is possible this is wholly due to King Candy reprogramming Sugar Rush).
Fashionable Asymmetry: Ralph's dungarees are missing a strap. Vanellope's stockings don't match. Appropriately, the car that they make when they team up is similarly asymmetrical.
Featureless Protagonist/First-Person Ghost: The player character in the lightgun shooting game Hero's Duty is a short, nondescript, voiceless robot with a gun in one arm and a (two-way) TV screen for a face; other Hero's Duty characters (like Calhoun) refer to it as the "first person shooter". When their game isn't being played, it does have some personality of its own — in particular, it takes offense at Ralph getting too close to it during gameplay and causing the player an untimely Game Over.
Fictional Video Game: Three are the movie's major settings: Fix-It Felix Jr. is the game that Ralph and Felix come from, Sgt. Calhoun comes from Hero's Duty, and Vanellope comes from Sugar Rush. A fourth one called Turbo Time is also mentioned, but its lead character ended up destroying it and another game out of jealousy.
A real Fix-It Felix Jr. arcade game was manufactured by Disney to promote the movie at the 2011 D23 Expo. In addition, Disney recently had (though, likely still has going) a sweepstakes contest in which fans can enter to win one of their own.
Final Death: As Sonic's PSA in the opening chapter explains, if a character dies outside of their game, they don't regenerate, essentially making out-of-game death stick. May be justified in the sense that only their native game possesses the code needed to spawn their next life, and it can't exactly go making a copy of them if it doesn't know that they died. This makes Ralph's (almost) Heroic Sacrifice all the more tense when breaking out of Cy-Bug!Turbo's grasp.
The cheerful and straight-arrow Felix with the rough and cynical Calhoun.
The jealous and attention-seeking Turbo as a dark reflection of Ralph's own dissatisfaction and jealousy stemming from his own situation. They both leave their games in order to take what they think is their due, but Ralph is ultimately good-hearted, cares about others and makes up for his mistakes whereas Turbo cares about no one but himself and is willing to ruin lives to get what he wants. Ralph was the antagonist in his home game and becomes a hero, whereas Turbo was the protagonist in his home game but becomes a villain.
Ralph and Felix. The latter is loved by pretty much everyone, while the former...
Ralph and Gene. Ralph is a large, powerful, imposing guy whose job is to wreck the penthouse, and he's capable of destroying nearly anything. But, outside of gameplay, he's pretty good-natured and wishes that people weren't afraid of him. "Big" Gene on the other hand has a squat stature and blips around with little 8-bit jerky motions that make him entirely non-threatening (both attributes shared by the other Nicelanders, all of whom essentially play the role of damsels in distress). However, he at least seems to have a big ego despite the fact that his job is for Ralph to throw him out of a window, and he has no problem getting in Ralph's face to try and intimidate him during the party.
Sugar Rush, combining Level Atenote used as a Racing Game setting, hence the "Rush" with Pixar-esque visuals. They actually did extensive research (as well as going through boxes of candy and confections) for the sake of it, and it shows.
Ralph is also shown eating cherries as big as watermelons. "Fresh from Pac-Man."
The cake at the party, with different flavors for each apartment, is pretty extravagant.
As Felix and Calhoun prepare to go into Sugar Rush after Ralph, there's a particularly subtle bit of foreshadowing among the graffiti on the wall. The word Turbo, and the 8 bit face of the man himself, before the tale of what "going Turbo" even means.
Similarly, when we see Vanellope locked up in the Fungeon, one of the paintings on the wall is of a clown in a racecar doing Turbo's trademark pose.
Several points in the film demonstrate that Vanellope's glitching extends to whatever she's in contact with, the first example being Taffyta. During the climax, this is how King Candy is exposed as Turbo.
As early as the Bad-Anon scene, people tell Ralph of the dangers of "going Turbo" when he wishes to become a hero. It's referring to Turbo Racer's insane game hopping, which resulted in two arcade machines being removed from the arcade.
Before it gets properly explained by Felix, King Candy is the first person to hint that it means more than just abandoning one's game (even if it's technically become a euphemism for that). King Candy immediately assumes Ralph is there to steal his game and goes ballistic at the very idea, hinting that he's more familiar with the subject than he lets on. Later, we find out that Candy is Turbo, and has in fact done exactly that with Sugar Rush.
Cy-Bugs become what they eat. It's demonstrated when one of them eats a gun. Then they go to a world of candy and become candy-themed. Then they eat King Candy/Turbo....
There's also King Candy's box of code in the source code. All the boxes are uniform - even Vanellope's box clearly shown outside the main code, but King Candy's is at least three times as large, colored differently, and (if you look closely) is a mess of twisted code, all serving to indicate that there's a lot more to him than just one racer.
Speaking of his box of code, pay attention and you'll see Turbo's face among the other blue files. Really◊.
Also, Vanellope's box in that same scene. It noticeably shoots off sparks from the connection points as the camera has it in focus, clearly implying that it was, at one point, connected to something. Since it isn't connected anymore, and King Candy is the only one who could access that area, it foreshadows that Vanellope isn't a glitch, she is an intended player, and King Candy changed it.
Watch carefully during the opening scene, when the camera is doing its pan through Litwak's arcade. You can get a clear glimpse of Vanellope's picture on the side of the Sugar Rush console, over an hour before the movie drops the Big Reveal. If you're thinking that something doesn't quite add up, hold onto that feeling.
Also if you look even closer it gives even more foreshadowing if you see she is driving King Candy's car aka the vehicle the Ruler of Sugar Rush drives.
Likewise, this (fake) commercial for Sugar Rush, supposedly from 1997, clearly shows Vanellope as a playable character.
When Vanellope first meets Ralph, she jokes about using the "royal we." Later on, when she's giving Ralph her hand-made hero medal she makes Ralph kneel and anoints him like a knight, saying that he is now "her royal chump." Even with her and everyone else's memories locked away, Princess Vanellope Von Schweetz is still subconsciously aware of who she's supposed to be. There's also the fact that she's the only character with "Von" in her name, and "Von" used to be for nobility.
Right before they enter the car factory, Ralph and Vanellope sees a "No glitches" sign with the latter's face in it posted on the door that has a crown shaped logo on top of it. When Ralph punches the door, the crown logo also fell.
Also during Vanellope and Ralph's first meeting, as Ralph climbs away from her until she's off screen, suddenly she's in front of him again on a higher branch, hinting at her teleportation powers later on.
Ralph comments that King Candy's palace is pink. Candy insists it's clearly salmon. We laugh. But it actually belongs to Vanellope!
Turbo's original game is a racing game.
The second time Ralph and King Candy meet, Ralph is in a bad mood and tries several times to hit him. King Candy is genuinely afraid of Ralph and keeps dodging and avoiding his attacks, not just because he's a wimp, but because King Candy is outside his own game so if Ralph succeeded in striking him down, it would be game over for real for King Candy.
King Candy recognizes Ralph when no one else from Sugar Rush does, though Ralph doesn't know him in turn. This is because King Candy is really Turbo, whose game came out around the same time as Ralph's.
King Candy is an old man racing against a bunch of young children. He also has a different design than the others, with no racing uniform and different proportions. At first this just seems creepily laughable. But it wasn't intentional by the game's developers...
Even for Sugar Rush, King Candy's cart is very feminine.
If you look closely, you can see that King Candy's coattails look like a beetle shell.
Combining this with Theme Song Reveal, this is Vanellope's theme, not played alone through most of the movie. In parts, it cuts an 8-bit-esque, "princessy" theme that was presumably original to "Sugar Rush".
During the Turbo exposition scene, you may well notice that Turbo's voice is the same as King Candy's.
As it shows the Arcade fast-forwarding, it shows arcade machines leaving while others arrive. One of the ones that leaves is Turbo Time.
After Vanellope uses Ralph's medal, the latter arrives in the scene and wrecks havoc. Vanellope ultimately hides in King Candy's car. After everyone has their attention at Ralph, she runs and passed by Crumbelina's car. The former is her original car, while the latter is the one she'll use to rescue Ralph at the climax.
For Your Own Good: King Candy's explanation to Ralph for his doing everything in his power to stop Vanellope from racing - if she wins and joins the roster, the players will see her glitching, think the game is broken, and it will be unplugged. Since glitches can't leave their own game, Vanellope will be trapped inside when the game is unplugged, and King Candy doesn't want her to die like that. Ralph uses the phrase after this conversation right before he smashes the cart he and Vanellope made together to keep her from racing. Ralph meant it. King Candy didn't.
All the characters know they're in a video game. They have the ability to see the player, by looking at what is essentially the game's "camera". Fix-It Felix Jr. has a great big window in the sky, while Hero's Duty has the computer-screen head of the First-Person Shooter robot. The arcade is never seen from inside Sugar Rush, but due to the gameplay it can be assumed it has a similar system to Hero's Duty.
During the last race of the movie, the camera is shown moving in behind King Candy in the usual way for racing games, as if he was the playable character. No other racers appear to have the same effect, and when seen later from different perspectives, there is no visible camera anywhere near him - though since the race was taking place after hours the "first person racer" would have no reason to be physically present then.
There are two others that if one pays close enough attention, and/or remembers what Vanellope looks like from the trailer.
The first is an early shot (from a different angle) of the Wham Shot mentioned later on down this page, during the 30-year time montage during Ralph's speech during the Bad-Anon meeting.
The second is when Moppet Girl is reading the lit-up Sugar Rush placard, if you pause it when you see Taffyta standing in front of her kart, look at the tiny images beside her, more specifically the racer at the left of the top row, (closest to Taffyta).
Friendly Enemy: At closing the two Street Fighters comment on their rough day and head to Tappers together.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Tapper is treated as the local bar, and all signs point to it being the original, un-BowdlerizedTapper, with the original bartender and characters getting intoxicated. Yet a line of dialogue indicates that the beverage served is root beer. Averted with the Niceland penthouse; it has a fully stocked bar and the residents are frequently seen drinking martinis. Gene is drinking one when Ralph returns to his game with the medal.
Also, in a flashback with Sgt Calhoun and her fiancé, they're seen with what appear to be glasses of wine.
In a flashback, Turbo's antics crash the new racing game brought in to replace him. Specifically, when he crashes into the player's car, the entire screen goes nuts with errors.
As a logo gag, the Disney Vanity Plate at the end of the credits glitches out and shuts down because of all the characters meshing together, which itself counts as a Shout-Out to the same thing in Pac-Man.
Game Changer: Ralph is convinced that it's pointless to continue helping Vanellope, as he feels any further assistance will doom her home game of Sugar Rush. Until Ralph notices official artwork of Vanellope on the side of the game cabinet and returns to Sugar Rush, now determined to get answers as to what's going on with Vanellope. Indeed, this new information ultimately leads to bringing down Turbo's horrid reign in Sugar Rush.
Gamer Chick: Moppet Girl, that young blonde girl in the arcade.
Genki Girl: Vanellope, who can snap from calm and snarky one moment to literally bouncing off the walls as if on a sugar high while teleporting all over the place and cheering at the top of her lungs when happy or excited... though it's worth noting that the events of the movie are likely the first times she's had something to be excited about in a long time.
Genre Blindness: The Cy-Bugs either do not or cannot realize that they're just game characters. Unusual for the trope, this makes them extremely dangerous since unlike other Bad Guys they don't know when to stop and the only thing keeping them in check is the end-of-game beacon.
Invoked when Ralph tries to take part in the modern, ultra-realistic Light Gun ShooterHero's Duty. The writers mention that the game's world was intended to be a place where Ralph, a throwback to 8-bit 1980s games, would be completely out of his depth, and it shows. The crowning moment was when Ralph tries to rush into the lab, believing it to be a safe haven from the Cy-bugs, unaware that a lab would be exactly the kind of place where the Cy-bugs would be coming from.
Ralph: I thought this was going be like Centipede!
Genre Throwback: In-universe: after the events of the movie, Fix-It Felix Jr. becomes a popular arcade game again, thanks to all the decommissioned arcade characters (like Q*bert) it now hosts, all of whom participate in gameplay and in bonus levels. Ralph says players love it for "being retro", which he figures means something like 'old, but cool'.
Gentle Giant: Ralph, when not playing the bad guy. He does have his moments of clumsiness, though.
Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: While stuck in the Nesquiksand with Calhoun, Felix confidently states that he can simply hop free. When that fails, he freaks out ("I'm hopless... this is hopeless!") and nearly drowns himself by flailing, forcing Calhoun to smack some calm into him. She even says "get a hold of yourself." This also ends up saving them as the slapstick attracts the Laffy Taffy to them.
It's also said later by Ralph during Felix's rant about the troubles he went through searching for him.
Vanellope's line "Frosting, a buttload of frosting."
Places and what's found there:
The Bad-Anon is clearly modeled off alcoholic support groups.
Ralph is clearly seen in the arcade game Tapper, which was a 1983 game where the player character is a bartender. The movie uses the Root Beer Tapper version, but the bartender is from the Budweiser-sponsored original rather than the Root Beer soda jerk. One of the space marines is even drunk, not to mention the Nicelanders usually drinking alcohol, adding rum to the cake, Pac-Man "eating" the Martinis, and the fact Gene is almost never seen on screen without a drink in his hand. This much alcohol it makes one wonder why they didn't just use the original Budweiser version.
While sorting through the lost-and-found in Tapper, Ralph comes across Zangrief's briefs. Ralph later steals Markowski's uniform and uses those briefs to cover his, um, bits.
Also, how did Zangief lose his trunks at a bar in the first place?
Go Karting with Bowser: Ralph and Felix are reasonably polite with each other when they aren't playing their game, though averted in the case of the Nicelanders who are rude, wary, insensitive, or all three towards Ralph.
Good Bad Bug: In-universe example. Vanellope eventually learns to use her glitching as a teleport. In the ending, Ralph says the players love it.
Good Needs Evil: Quite literally in this case. Without the villains/rivals/etc., many of the games would have zero gameplay. A game really is only as good as its villain. The plot is kicked off by the utter lack of appreciation Ralph receives for doing his absolutely vital job.
Good Thing You Can Heal: Any damage to characters in their games is reset quickly. However, character death is permanent if it happens in a game other than their native one.
Felix tells Calhoun he can heal himself with his hammer so she shouldn't be afraid to punch him.
Gory Discretion Shot: The destruction of Vanellope's car is shown with as much discretion as if it were a person. Played straight with Turbo, though he came back later.
Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Both Fix-It Felix and Sgt. Calhoun play this in different ways. Felix is a very polite, old-fashioned person and may not even know any words stronger than "goshdarn"; Calhoun uses very colorful language that sounds like it SHOULD be filthy.
Fix-It Felix Jr.: "I don't have to do boo; forgive my potty mouth."
Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die: Ralph tries to give Vanellope a pre-race pep talk, but he can't avoid reminding her how much is riding on it. Fortunately she shakes it off almost instantly.
Green-Eyed Monster: The reason why "going Turbo" is a bad thing (besides the fact a character in a game that is not their own will not regenerate upon death) is that Turbo, a protagonist of his own racing game, was upset at the attention a new racing game was stealing from him. He decided to enter that game, which caused glitches and got both games decommissioned. Turbo still hasn't learned from his lesson as King Candy.
Grew Beyond Their Programming: Well, everyone in the film. But averted with the Cy-Bugs, whose hard-coded imperative to "go into the light" cannot be overcome even by King Candy/Turbo.
Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Ralph punches things, Felix hits things with a hammer, and Calhoun fires guns. Yet this isn't really played straight, as Calhoun's firearms are treated as just as dangerous as actual firearms. Plus she can throw a mean punch when she has to.
Hair Decorations: Vanellope wears a hair ribbon made of licorice and she has various types of candy stuck in her hair.
Hammerspace: Everyone from Hero's Duty literally pull their weapons out of empty air.
Hand Signals: As the arcade closes, Calhoun hears what she thinks is a Cy-Bug and raises a fist in the military "Hold" signal to alert her soldiers chatting behind her.
Healing Shiv: Felix's hammer acts as this. Whether he wants it to or not.
The entire idea of "Face" and "Heel" and what it really means to be either is examined and played around with during the story.
Heel Realization: Zangief had this epiphany while crushing a man's skull like a sparrow's egg between his thighs, but he learned to live with it.
There's another example that actually sticks, unlike the Zangief example: when King Candy a.k.a. Turbo Racer's manipulations of Sugar Rush's code are fixed, the other racers all get their memories back... including the memory of Vanellope von Schweetz being their true ruler, and thus they realize that their jackass behavior to Vanellope earlier was completely inexcusable. They all quickly apologize and admit what heels they were.
Hold Your Hippogriffs: Some here and there, though a lot of the phrases used are downright strange even without being altered to fit video games. Also, everyone from Sugar Rush alters their phrases to be candy-based.
Honor Before Reason: Felix sticks around Sugar Rush during the climax, even though his only weapon is a Healing Shiv, because he's determined to help Calhoun and Vanellope. Though, his healing weapon can repair Calhoun's weapons, so he isn't completely useless.
After Ralph spends most of the introduction lamenting the fact that no one seems to appreciate him even though he's just doing his job, he gives Mr. Surge Protector a very hard time for just doing his job. Justified by the fact that he's always stopped when entering and leaving Game Central Station and believes Surge Protector is just profiling.
Mr. Surge Protector: Anything to declare? Ralph: I hate you. Mr. Surge Protector: I get that a lot.
A few moments after that, Ralph meets up with sergeant Markowski from another game:
Markowski: Look, only the best and bravest serve in our corps. (Sees a roach on Ralph's shoulder) BUG!!(Screams Like a Little Girl and runs right into a wall, knocking himself out)
Another example is Ralph's anger at Vanellope for stealing his medal. You know, the one he himself stole?
I Did What I Had to Do: King Candy explains that he cannot allow Vanellope to race and get onto the roster, as her glitchy nature would put the game at risk of being unplugged and kill her in the process. Though it turns out that this is largely a fabrication.
King Candy: Do you know what the hardest part about being a king is? Doing what's right, no matter what.
Played straight with Gene, who, after Ralph returns to Fix-It Felix Jr. with his medal, gives the wrecker the key to the penthouse.
Gene: Never let it be said that I'm not a man of my word. The place is yours, Ralph.
I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Calhoun's backstory was that her fiancé was eaten by a Cy-Bug on their wedding day after she forgot to do a perimeter check. This ends up being much sillier than it sounds, as the bug comes out of nowhere, and she immediately pulls out a giant minigun from under her dress and starts shooting, screaming in terror. She learned from her mistake, as seen during her wedding to Felix.
Imagine Spot: Ralph has one when he's claiming the medal he "won" in Hero's Duty of him becoming the centre of attention in Niceland whilst Gene cried his eyes out in the dump.
He has another one of the fate that would befall Vanellope as King Candy describes it to him. It's considerably less funny than the first one.
Innocently Insensitive: Felix did not realize how unsatisfied Ralph was with his situation until he gets a taste of it himself. The fact that Ralph is a nice guy and was so overly polite that he never says anything about it directly didn't help matters.
Insistent Terminology: King Candy's palace isn't pink, it's salmon. This hints at the fact that he's a lying liar who lies.
Instant Expert: Vanellope picks up race driving with astonishing speed. This is because she was coded to be a racer, but was forced to forget how. When she says "racing is in my code", she's actually on to something.
In-Universe Camera: The action inside Hero's Duty is displayed to the player by a camera robot that travels with the soldiers and simulates the first person perspective for the player. Naturally, they call it the "First-Person Shooter" and it suffers Camera Abuse.
It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Satan insists on this pronunciation, which hints that he's from Satan's Hollow (there was a weak attempt to use an alternate pronunciation to keep the Moral Guardians at bay back in the day, no one paid any attention). Why have a villain from an obscure bottom-shooter with these legends? Well, the designer would go on to make TRON next.
A deleted scene on the Blu-Ray reveals that the writers had originally planned for Ralph to sing such a song in the movie... only to be interrupted from singing because he's completely tone-deaf. The audio commentary for this scene even mentions the trope by name.
Played with. King Candy's reasons for preventing Vanellope from racing are legitimate - if people think the game is glitchy, the game will be unplugged. Van being a glitch, she won't be able to escape to Game Central like the rest meaning she'll die. Of course, while the sentiment is true (no one wants a glitchy game, she can't escape and would die, etc.), Candy has ulterior motives and reasons for stopping her since it would unravel his long con, and he was the reason she was a glitch, instead of himself. Her glitching ultimately turns out to be a (possibly intentional) Good Bad Bug.
Also, Mayor Gene delivers a lengthy and hurtful guilt trip to Ralph after Ralph returns to Fix-It Felix Jr. to find the game evacuated and soon to be unplugged. While Gene was the ringleader and most obnoxious of the Nicelanders who dismissed and ostracized Ralph (causing him to leave in the first place), him calling Ralph out on his selfishness and the shortsightedness of his actions is not only accurate, but it quite likely cuts deeper and hammers in his failure more coming from an antagonistic character like Gene than it would have coming from a consummate good guy like Felix.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ralph is a very decent person with a good heart, but is also selfish and has quite the temper on him. Though he always shows his better nature in time, he initially makes things constantly worse by acting only in his own best interest.
Vannelope too. She's a mouthy, self-centered little brat, but she's still very likable once you're her friend and definitely a good person.
Kids Are Cruel: The racers in Sugar Rush are just plain beastly to Vanellope, who acts like a jerk to Ralph (initially).
Kill Screen: The arcade version of Fix-It Felix has one when you hit 39 levels. And The Stinger after the end credits.
King Mook: King Cy-bug, a.k.a. what happens when a Cy-bug ate King Candy.
Kitschy Local Commercial: Among the fake advertisements Disney used for the movie, one of them is a commercial for The Fix-It Felix Hammer, having shoddy graphics, poor format, and obviously-stock pictures and videos.
Kneel Before Frodo: The other racers after they remember that Vanellope was their princess.
Kneel Before Zod: Played with. Vanellope gets Ralph to genuflect so she can give him the cookie medal she made for him.
Konami Code: King Candy uses it to gain access and edit Sugar Rush's source code. It is indeed the code of all codes!
Ladyella: A minor character from Sugar Rush is called "Citrusella Flugpucker" (it's a bluish recolor of Jubileena Bing-Bing).
Lady Not-Appearing-in-This-Game: An interesting and actually plot-critical example: Vanellope is featured prominently in the Sugar Rush cabinet art despite that she's supposedly a glitch and not supposed to even be in the game. This is what clues Ralph in that King Candy's hiding something and ultimately leads to the latter's plan derailing. In the end it actually proves to be a hint to an even bigger reveal: that Vanellope is actually the true ruler of Sugar Rush.
There is also one about the player character in first person shooters and how every body part except the arms is not visible. In Hero's Duty, the player character is just a robotic screen on wheels, with arms resembling those of the other characters.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: King Candy tampered with the code in Sugar Rush so that no one would remember who Vanellope was by locking everyone's memories up in a chest. Only Sour Bill knows of this incident, which he tells Ralph.
Laser Sight: During her programmed backstory, a bug crashed through the window of the church on Calhoun's wedding and ate her to-be husband. When she marries Felix in an identical church, there's dozens of Red Dots on the window from the rifles of all of Calhoun's guests making sure nothing like that happens again.
Late Arrival Spoiler: The official tie-in video games and coloring book came out before the film's debut. Both contain massive spoilers.
Lava is Boiling Diet Cola: Almost literally in this case. While the main point was the drink's eruptive nature when it reacts with Mentos (Truth in Television due to their particular chemistry), the "molten hot Diet Cola" found in the volcano was also a likely shout-out to this video game trope, especially games like Mega Man 3 and Super Metroid.
Kano, of Mortal Kombat: he is never acknowledged by name onscreen, and in the script he is referred to as "Cy-borg". Though permission was gotten, one theory is that the name and character was PG-ified to avoid connecting the kid friendly movie with a game whose basic principle is inflicting massive bodily harm. Most people familiar with the game would still be able to tell who he is, though.
Mario is referred to only by name and never makes an appearance. John C. Reilly made a joke that the film couldn't afford to pay for the rights, but the filmmakers actually did have permission to use him — they just couldn't figure out a way to fit him into the story (and, given Mario's iconic status, they felt a cameo appearance wouldn't do him justice).
Left the Background Music On: Felix has just rescued Calhoun from a Nesquik-sand pit, and romantic music plays in the background. The camera then pans slightly to reveal that the Laffy Taffy he used to save them is providing the music. Calhoun fires warning shots into the air a couple times to discourage them.
Turbo has a theme of his own - a very dark version of the first few notes of his old arcade game Turbo-Time's theme. However, it is limited to very specific scenes due to him not appearing much in the movie, as himself anyway. It's most prominent in the climax.
Ralph's theme is the most blatant, playing as the title of the movie comes up and prominently throughout the following scene. It tends to appear in more sentimental moments, including his attempted Heroic Sacrifice.
King Candy has a theme as well, a song that's actually a version of the Turbo Time version with a bar removed on every chord, possibly inspired by The Wizard of Oz. Since King Candy is actually an alias of Turbo, he has two letimotifs.
Level Ate: The Sugar Rush world is made of candy. Deconstructed in that it provides food for the Cy-Bug, allowing it to reproduce.
While on the surface Sugar Rush 's characters appear to be sickly sweet and nice, the irony is that pretty much every single inhabitant of the game is actually a pretty horrible individual. In truth, they were originally just as nice as they appeared, but King Candy, who is in reality Turbo in disguise, intentionally messed up Sugar Rush's programming code so none of the racers would remember who Vanellope von Schweetz really was. The second they get their memories back, light does in fact become good and they instantly apologize for how mean they were. "Candy-coated heart of darkness", as Ralph puts it.
Turbo is a white character with a skeletal appearance. There's a reason this "protagonist's" name is used to describe a typically unthinkable act in the game universe.
Lightning Bruiser: Ralph has a rather impressive running speed for someone his size, and is capable of punching things so fast that his arms blur, and he's able to pulverize stone into dust in less than a second. He does this in one scene to make a bed out of the bricks in the dump, and later to make a training race course for Vanellope.
In the climax, King Candy in his Cybug form, despite being over twenty feet tall (and strong enough to toss Ralph around like a rag doll), can still move pretty damn fast.
MacGuffin: The Hero's Medal. It represents Ralph's shallow wish for fulfillment of his desires, but ultimately proves to be an illusion, a lie which causes great damage to be done both to Ralph's own game and to all the games he's visited. And it is only after Ralph rejects that lie (i.e. throwing it against the game screen) that he discovers King Candy's deception and the way to correct his mistakes and become the person he truly wants to be.
Made of Indestructium: Vanellope claims that the jawbreakers found in Sugar Rush are this, so she's quite impressed (and inspired) when Ralph manages to split one in half; if he can break that, an armored vault door would be no match for him!.
Magic Skirt: Vanellope hangs upside down from a tree branch and her skirt remains static. Justified in that it's made of paper candy cups.
Mama Bear: Interesting out-of-universe example. According to Jim Reardon (Head of Story), all the women on the film's story crew were very protective of the character of Vanellope throughout the entire developing process.
An army of females in the film's fandom have passionately expressed their wish to protect/console Vanellope in some way.
Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Arcade machine characters regularly visit other machines and interact on a daily basis. It's usually discouraged, since dying outside of one's own arcade machine is a permanent death. In a slightly meta example, Fix-It Felix Jr. becomes host to various arcade characters out of a job after the events of the film, making it popular in the arcade by players who think it's a retro throwback to old arcade games.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: In his game, Ralph is a hulking, raging brute that fully intends to smash the building full of innocent tenants. When the game isn't being played, he is a Gentle Giant who appears to have a friendly, professional relationship with the other video game characters.
The same can be said about the cameo villains. They're all nice guys, they just have to play the part they're in. Especially M. Bison and Kano.
Perhaps coincidental, but Q*bert's cameo appearance in Wreck-It Ralph also coincides with the aforementioned character's 30th anniversary.
Mind-Control Eyes: When the beacon is lit, the Cy-Bug's and Virus King Candy's eyes change from green to blue.
The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: It's not entirely clear who is in control after Turbo is eaten and assimilated by a Cy-Bug ... his personality and mannerisms remain intact, but he can't resist the hypnotic call of a gigantic light beacon - in this case a fiery volcano eruption - which spells his ultimate doom.
Minigame: In an in-universe example, the car-making factory from Sugar Rush.
Possibly why there would be platforming elements like the candy cane trees in a racing game.
Missing Trailer Scene: There's a scene in which Ralph is chased by a swarm of Cy-Bugs while he is riding on Calhoun's Hover Board to Diet Cola Mountain. In actuality, while riding to the mountain, he's not chased at all.
Another missing trailer scene; there's a clip from Hero's Duty where one of the soldiers tells to Ralph "Get outta this game, buddy!" in the midst of the Cy-Bug attack.
The aforementioned Toilet Humor scene is actually still Mood Whiplash in context. It happens mere seconds after Vanellope was face down in the mud crying over being bullied and having her pedal car smashed up by the other kids.
Moral Dissonance: Some see Vanellope's lack of caring if her "glitching" gets Sugar Rush unplugged if she races as this. It could follow this was a knee-jerk reaction to (a) getting that close to living her dream as a racer, and (b) feeling that Ralph double-crossed her for talking with King Candy.
Morton's Fork: Sugar Rush's daily roster is determined nightly with a race. Contestants have to buy their way in with coins won from previous races. This effectively locks Vanellope out of the game, because she can't race to win coins and has no coins to race with. Then Ralph came along with his medal.
Mouth Cam: Used as Ralph interrogates Sour Bill, a minion of the film's main antagonist, by threatening to eat him.
Mr. Exposition: In an odd, non-verbal sort of way. The girl with the glasses is able to provide the audience with information they'll need by playing Hero's Duty (which starts Ralph on the game campaign and gets some rules of video games explained to him), then dropping by Sugar Rush and being turned away, and then going to Fix It Felix to discover Ralph isn't there.
Done later with Felix when he has to explain what "Going Turbo" means to Sergent Calhoun since her game was only plugged in the past few days, which also shows what's at stake if he doesn't get Ralph back.
Mr Fix It: He's not called "Fix-It Felix Jr." for nothing.
Mugged for Disguise: But since Ralph isn't really a bad guy, the space marine helpfully knocks himself out so Ralph can mug him without resistance. Of course, considering his mental state and level of intoxication Ralph may have been doing him a favor. Stealing his underwear and putting him in Zangief's tights probably wasn't necessary, though.
My God, What Have I Done?: When the characters of Sugar Rush realize who Vanellope really is, everyone panics, especially the other racers. Of course, they never realized the truth since their code had been manipulated by King Candy/Turbo.
Before that, Ralph gets this threefold, first for crushing Vanellope's car into bits (even though he believes it is for the greater good, it's obvious he still feels this after the deed is done), seeing what his actions have wrought to his own game for running off, and finally when he realizes the Cy-Bug invasion of Sugar Rush was his fault.
Another character as well - while Felix is actually upset with Ralph only because the latter game-jumped, he didn't realize just how badly the others in Fix-It Felix Jr. treated Ralph until Ralph compared said treatment with the treatment Felix got in prison. In this case, though, it was more guilt for not stopping others from treating Ralph badly, rather than Felix feeling bad for his own treatment of Ralph, who he at least tried to treat fairly, his reluctance owed to the Nicelanders' fear and loathing of Ralph.
My New Gift Is Lame: Subverted. Vanellope seems to be staring in disappointed shock at the car Ralph helped her bake, but she's actually just overwhelmed to have a real car at all.
Necessarily Evil: Video game villains are just playing the role of their game's Bad Guy opposing the hero (or player) because the game requires an antagonist, even if the villain-actors themselves are perfectly kind, noble, and reasonable people.
Mr. Surge Protector: Anything to declare? Ralph: I hate you. Mr. Surge Protector: I get that a lot.
Never Say "Die": Averted in the original as King Candy uses both "kill" and "die" in the climax, however in some dubs, like the Norwegian, his lines were changed from "...it'd be more fun to kill you" and "Let's watch her die together, shall we?" to "...it'd be more fun to get rid of you" and "Let's watch her disappear together."
Never Trust a Trailer: In the trailer, there's a marine in Hero's Duty that tells Ralph, "Get out of this game buddy!". In the movie, none of the marines or Sgt. Calhoun know that Ralph is in Hero's Duty (They think it's Markowski, the marine that Ralph saw at Tapper) until Felix comes in and tells them about Ralph appearing.
Nice Character, Mean Actor: In their game, the Nicelanders are the residents in distress in the penthouse that Ralph intends to destroy. When the game isn't being played, they act as snobby Jerkasses towards Ralph, especially Gene.
Subverted by Felix, who despite the main character of the film being the embodiment of Mean Character, Nice Actor, is actually the only character in their game who is nice and respectful to Ralph.
Also, the entire plot was kicked off by the "good" residents of Ralph's game world treating him with contempt and fear outside arcade hours, even excluding him from the game's 30th anniversary celebration. Had they actually included him and acknowledged his importance to their world Ralph would not have felt the need to seek out his medal and none of the film would have even happened.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Both subverted and played straight in the fact that Ralph ends up saving the day in the end, yet he is still considered the "villain."
King Candy, when he does not give Ralph back his medal when Ralph first meets him. Had King Candy just simply given Ralph his medal, then Ralph would have left the game and he would have never been discovered as Turbo.
Another example, is the reveal of King Candy/Turbo attempting to have Vanellope deleted through his hacking which subsequently resulted her in becoming a glitch. Thus, giving her new glitchy abilities, which she learns to control later on to her advantage.
Played with with Felix. His attempts to escape from prison by hitting a damaged bar with his hammer go about as well ad you'd expect from a character called Fix-it Felix Jr. who is armed with a hammer that fixes things by magic. Nice job fixing it, hero.
Nightmare Face: The Big Bad during The Reveal. Turbo/King Candy, when he starts glitching out while attacking Vanellope. His face flickers back and forth between his King Candy disguise, his rendered Turbo face, and his utterly terrifying skull-like 8-bit Turbo face, while red glitch lines flicker throughout his body.
Noble Demon: Zangief tries to explain this to the members of Bad-Anon. "You may be Bad Guy, but this does not mean you're bad guy."
The Zombie as well. "Zangief say, labels not make you happy. Good? Bad? *groans* You must love you."
Nobody Poops: Averted in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it gag. As Ralph is leaving Pac-Man a couple of restrooms can be seen near the exit.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: King Candy looks and sounds a lot like old-time comedian/actor Ed Wynn. (Who, perhaps not-so-coincidentally, was involved in several Disney projects in the '50s and '60s. Wynn's portrayal of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland, in particular, appears to have been a strong influence on King Candy's characterization.)
Non-Indicative Name: In a bunch of cute kids with sweets-based names and theming, one would expect the one called Minty to have, well, a mint theme. Turns out that her theme is sour apple instead.
Nonstandard Character Design: Sgt. Calhoun has the most realistic design of the four main characters, who are very cartoony. This is in keeping with the design of the game she comes from, which is also more realistic than the others.
In addition, the designs of Ralph and Felix differ from Vanellope in that Ralph, Felix and anyone from their game have five fingers when Vanellope and anyone from her game have four. This is also in keeping with the design of the game Ralph and Felix come from, being an '80s Japanese-made arcade game.
There's also King Candy, a beady-eyed old man in a game of big-eyed children and sentient candy. This is the first visible clue that he isn't supposed to be there.
The Not-Love Interest: Vanellope for Ralph. A lot of people who only saw her character design thought she was an extremely short adult (since when it comes to video game character designs, anything goes) and assumed she was the Love Interest (an online preview with multiple factual errors didn't help matters). She is supposed to be nine years old and is definitely not Ralph's Love Interest, although she and Ralph do become best friends.
Calhoun has a big one when she finally sees the Cy-Bug nest.
Calhoun: Doomsday and Armageddon just had a baby, and it is ugly!
And a smaller but just as pronounced one when the Cy-Bug initially escapes. All she does is stare wide-eyed and run her hands through her hair, in one of the only times we actually see her scared in the entire movie.
King Candy when he sees Vanellope racing alongside him. Considering we know his scheme at this point, it's justified.
Near the end, all the Sugar Rush Racers got one when Princess (or rather, President) Vanellope joked that they were going to be executed.
Vanellope gets pixelated during her glitching fits caused by King Candy rearranging the game's code to make himself the main character instead of her. She also sometimes causes anyone in contact with her to glitch; this is used to create the big reveal that King Candy is actually Turbo.
The end title card glitches in a parody of the Pac-Man "kill stage". The same is done with the end of the Bit by Bit making-of documentary on the Blu-Ray.
One-Hit-Point Wonder: Felix is one of these in his own game, as a few loose ceiling tiles is all it takes for him to go through his death animation. Thankfully, he can take a lot more serious harm when he's in other games (necessary for the escape from the Nesquick sand).
Original Generation: Fix-It Felix Jr., Sugar Rush, Hero's Duty and Turbotime as well as their respective characters.
Pacifist Run: In-universe example - Ralph climbs the tower in Hero's Duty and grabs the medal while no one's playing it so he wouldn't have to fight a single bug.
Pac Man Fever: Despite taking place in an arcade, they seem to be consciously averting it, presenting games from different eras (albeit fictional ones) and even having actual characters from different games a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Notably, Bowser and Eggman actually resemble their official artwork with stunning faithfulness.
Palette Swap: The film used this for several of the background Sugar Rush racers. Both meta and in-game. Of course, when you have a racing game featuring Loads and Loads of Characters, and especially one from 1997, this is to be expected.
Papa Wolf: Ralph will do anything to protect Vanellope. He even nearly gives up his life to save her.
Parental Bonus: By the very nature of this movie, it's crammed to the gunwales with video-game references that nobody under 30 is likely to get. Most people have at least heard of Pac-Man, but Dig Dug? Qix? Pong?
Peek-a-Bangs: Calhoun's hair is surprisingly in the way for a soldier.
People Puppets: When Fix-It Felix Jr. is actually being played, Felix is a slave to the player's controls. The same could very well be said for any character that is directly controlled by a player, such as the First Person Shooter in Hero's Duty. Also inverted when Felix moves on his own during game time; the controls on the arcade console move by themselves.
Percussive Maintenance: Felix's magic hammer fixes things by hitting them (which makes sense in his game). As it turns out, it can fix anything (including healing himself), and even if he's trying to smash his way out of a jail.
Person as Verb: Felix explains what "going Turbo" is and why it's so dangerous: It was named for Turbo the racer, a hero who, out of jealousy, jumped into a newer racing game to upstage it. Which caused both games to glitch up, resulting in the unplugging and removal of both from the arcade.
Pet the Dog: Ralph's giving the cherry away solidifies his good-person credentials.
Pimped-Out Dress: Vanellope's princess dress. It is almost obnoxiously pink and frilly, and it's obvious Vanellope isn't exactly a fan.
She has it on again at Felix and Calhoun's wedding. It's apparently tight around the collar.
Calhoun's dress (which seems to be the same for both weddings) is pretty stunning.
Play Every Day: Sugar Rush has a feature where the character roster changes daily, determined in the game's world by nightly races. Vanellope is prevented from getting on the roster because she has no coins from previous races to pay her way in, only to finally have a chance by using Ralph's medal as a substitute coin.
Please Don't Leave Me: Vanellope hugs Ralph at the end and tearfully tells him he could stay in Sugar Rush if he wants to.
Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: When Ralph destroys Vanellope's cart. Only after he realizes that King Candy played him like a violin does Ralph make amends with Vanellope.
Product Placement: The various licensed game characters don't really count, since that's what the movie's world is about; but Sugar Rush has lots of placement, notably Mentos, NesQuik, and Laffy Taffy. One product notable by its absence is Diet Coke, as the game/movie calls it "diet cola" instead.
"Call out the Devil Dogs!" is basically the point where they lose all attempts at subtlety.
The Subway cup in the arcade had more than its fair share of screen time.
Protagonist Title: Ralph is the protagonist of the movie, but not of the fictional video game within his movie. Both titles are Protagonist Titles, so that Ralph has the movie named after him but lives his life in a world named after his opponent Fix-It Felix.
Psychotic Smirk: Sergeant Calhoun sports one when Vanellope, restored to her true power as princess, orders all her bullies to be executed. She is, of course, joking.
Punch Clock Villain: How the video game baddies are portrayed; being the villain is their job. Off-duty, they're not all that bad.
Punny Name: Wynchell and Duncan, the donut cops, are named after donut chains.
On a different note, Minty Zaki sounds a lot like "Miyazaki" (this was intentional) and DiCaramello, if you pronounce the "caramel" part as "carmel", sounds like "DiCaprio".
Pyrrhic Victory: Ralph goes home with his medal, but it's not everything he thought it would be. He had to break a little girl's heart and his game is due to be unplugged, causing him to chuck the medal at the screen in disgust. Fortunately, the impact knocks the "Out of Order" sign loose and shows him how he can really be a hero.
Race Lift: For the Japanese version, Minty Zaki, an Ambiguously Brown girl dressed in green, has been redesigned into a Japanese character resembling Candlehead, only wearing a pink kimono and with her hair done up in a bun. She is referred to as Minty Sakura in this incarnation.
Reasonable Authority Figure: At times, King Candy is this - if a bit loony - approaching Ralph and pleading with him, explaining why Vanellope cannot enter the race because of the damage it would ultimately do to the game and Vanellope herself, namely, players seeing Vanellope glitching would have the arcade decommission their otherwise perfectly working machine. He has ulterior motives for not wanting her to race.
Red Herring: M. Bison is the first character to ask Ralph if he's "going Turbo". This makes it look like he's referring to the "Turbo" update for Street Fighter II, but he's referring to a game character who abandoned his game, and who later turns out to be the main villain.
Resurrective Immortality: Being video game characters, they can respawn upon death — but as the PSA in Game Central Station notes, this only applies inside their own games. Death is permanent if it happens in another game.
Rewriting Reality: It's possible to alter games and their inhabitants by messing with the source code. King Candy's plan revolves around this, and Ralph and Felix use this to give Q*Bert and his friends a role in their game.
Retraux: The Fix-It Felix Jr. arcade game is made to look like it was made in the '80s.
The teaser poster◊ is simply an 8-bit sprite of Ralph's head. They sure are banking on nostalgia.
This whole film is filled with it, almost to the point of TRON: Legacy.
The Reveal: King Candy is an old character named Turbo who manipulated Sugar Rush's code so that everyone thought that Vanellope, the real ruler of Sugar Rush, was a glitch.
Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Calhoun asks Felix if he thinks the Cy-Bugs will stop after devouring just one game, he excitedly blurts out "Yes!", forcing Calhoun to explain just how dire the situation is.
Ride the Lightning: All the characters game-jump by traveling through the power cords. Curiously, they exit through the grounding wire, though stylistically it's probably easier to make a door out of that singular connection than the two thinner prongs. (Nerds take note: there is such a thing as power-line networking, where data really is transmitted through the power cords.)
Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: When Vanellope crosses the finish line the game resets, reverting all the damage done by the Cy-bugs. Despite this, everyone still remembers how things were before - no one's actual memories are reset as you would expect in a resetting computer program in Real Life.
The Rival: Taffyta Muttonfudge, an accomplished racer at Sugar Rush, is this to Vanellope. This is only because King Candy screwed up everyone's programming code; it's later revealed Taffyta is actually supposed to be one of Vanellope's subjects.
Role Reprisal: Many cameos from real games have the same voice actors.
The double stripe disappearing candy cane branches. This becomes a Plot Point when Calhoun and Felix are dropped into Nesquicksand-pit after a double-stripe bridge vanishes beneath their feet.
Many of the characters in Sugar Rush mentioning Ralph's bad breath.
A very brief one, when Vanellope is learning to drive: Ralph stands in front of the cart and she runs over his foot. Ralph stands behind the cart, and she backs into him and knocks him over — then backs into him again while he's trying to get up. Ralph hides behind a "rock" and she runs into a stalagmite, causing it to break, fall over and whack him on the head.
Sadistic Choice: King Candy's explanation about the possible unplugging of Sugar Rush—and how Vanellope's nature as a glitch would force her to stay and die with the game—forces Ralph into one of these: let Vanellope race and possibly consign her to a Fate Worse than Death, or save her life by destroying her car... and her dreams. Ralph, unwilling to lose the only real friend he's ever had, chooses the latter. And the worst thing about it is that's it a lie created by King Candy so Vanellope can remain forever a glitch.
Satan Is Good: Sure, there's a Satan at the Bad Anon villain. That said, he prefers Sah-Teen, he looks at peace with himself, supports his fellow villains at the support group, was one of the people who managed to finally get Ralph into a Bad-Anon meeting, and he's even the first to congratulate Ralph on his 30-year anniversary since release. Like all the other guys in the support group, he's just a Punch Clock Villain.
Say My Name: The first time Ralph actually calls Vanellope by name is when he's quietly pleading with her to listen before she gives him the candy medal.
Screams Like a Little Girl: Markowski, when he sees a cockroach. Bonus points for doing this right after declaring that "only the bravest" serve in Calhoun's squad. It's a little understandable once it's shown exactly what kind of "bugs" he faces down in Hero's Duty time and time again.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: The Hero's Duty character Ralph mugs for his costume, who is suffering from having been forced to participate in a game session for a week. Also Calhoun, whose PTSD trigger is being called "dynamite gal" much like her fiancé used to.
Shipper on Deck: The Laffy Taffy in Sugar Rush are obviously fans of Calhoun & Felix, to the point of forming a heart symbol to frame them in the scene while they serenade the couple. Calhoun scares them off with warning shots.
Shown Their Work: Plenty. Long story short, out of all the gaming references seen, almost all of them are portrayed perfectly.
Zangief's the one exception. His name is pronounced incorrectly (Zan-gi-ev, not Zan-Geef), and putting him in with the villains almost caused an Internet Counterattack, as outside of some adaptations, Zangief is one of the series' heroes. Screenwriter Phil Johnston says it's entirely his fault—not because of not doing the research, but because Zangief was a High-Tier Induced Scrappy to Johnston during his Street Fighter II-playing days. "I don't care what anybody says, he was bad to me."
Even the titular game is an example. The similarities to Crazy Climber are definitely noticeable even if they were not quite able to get the rights.
Ever wondered how Sonic somehow wound up in the arcade? Well, there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it frame of a very obscure (but indeed real) arcade machine titled Sonic The Fighters (a fighting game with Sonic and the gang) during the evolution of arcade sequence in the beginning.
Also ties in with Bowser and Eggman in the fact that their home console games also had coin-op ports back in the day. (See here and here)
How did the ! end up in the lost and found? Litwak probably imported it from Japan.
Signature Move: Even after everything is over, Vanellope keeps her glitchy teleporting ability, and it's implied the players love it. Given that players can glitch-teleport near the finish line, why wouldn't they?
Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: King Candy appears only very briefly in marketing, with none of his appearances being very expository (whereas a lot of the marketing for the other characters, even the minor ones, explained a great deal). Turbo isn't shown at all in order to protect The Reveal.
Skull for a Head: Turbo's head is not an actual skull, but he has white skin, yellow teeth, and sunken yellow eyes to invoke a skull. It only further reinforces the fact that he's the Obviously Evil real villain.
As the escape pod with Ralph and the Cy-Bug goes past Sergeant Calhoun and Felix.
As Vanellope, who was not supposed to race, passes King Candy in Sugar Rush.
Smooch of Victory: In the Fix-It Felix Jr. game, the Nicelanders reward Felix with a pie, a medal, and a smooch after every level for fixing their apartments. Felix does this to Calhoun after Ralph beats the Cy-Bugs, and she reciprocates with a Big Damn Kiss.
Standard Snippet: Felix's standard death animation includes a chiptune riff of Chopin's Funeral March.
Statuesque Stunner: Calhoun is actually even taller than Ralph, who's supposed to be nine feet tall. See this pic◊ for reference. Of course, Ralph clearly isn't that tall, otherwise he'd dwarf most everyone at the Bad-Anon meeting (though wider, he certainly isn't much taller than they are), making the height discrepancy a technical limitation of his game (hence why Felix is not much taller than Vanellope). Calhoun's own height naturally comes from the various characters she draws from, all statuesque themselves.
Status Quo Is God: A Nicelander landlord tries to invoke this, presumably when Ralph suggests to mix things up in the game so he plays the good guy.
Kano even states as such during the Bad Guy meeting.
In the end, Ralph returns to his role as a bad guy, but is happy that he's been the good guy for once (and fixed something, to boot), has earned the respect and generosity of Felix and the Nicelanders, and is able to see Vanellope each time a round is completed (aka when the Nicelanders throw him off the building).
The film's composer is shown during the credits as the top player on a high score list. He wrote the film's musical score.
Game Central Station is an outlet.
The first person to use the phrase "going turbo" is M. Bison, referencing the second Updated Re-release of Street Fighter II called "Turbo Street Fighter II Hyperfighting" (and how that word was used in other re-releases and ports).
The Stinger: At the very end of the movie, the Walt Disney logo tuns into a parody of the Pac Man Kill Screen.
Storyboarding the Apocalypse: As King Candy explains just what would happen if Vanellope's participation got Sugar Rush unplugged, we're shown a vision of her desperately trying to escape as the world disintegrates around her. It's pretty brutal.
Stylish Protection Gear: Despite using the same color scheme as the other soldiers, Calhoun's armor is closely tailored to her body rather than blocky and shapeless, and she usually doesn't wear a helmet. Of course, it's not so stylish that anyone would wear it on a romantic dinner date, to a picnic, etc, as Calhoun and her fiancé are seen doing. Given what happened at the wedding this may be justified.
Stylistic Suck: The Nicelanders deliberately have animation so choppy they change position in a single frame, representing the way their sprites look while playing their game.
Word of God mentioned that achieving this was much harder than it looked, as the animators, who were trained to make graphics and animation as smooth and cutting edge as possible, were suddenly asked to downgrade the quality of their work in order to achieve the retro-looking effect.
Supernormal Bindings: After Vanellope is captured by King Candy and thrown in his Fungeon she's shown in an enormous shackle labeled "100% glitch-proof".
Super Strength: Ralph. Aside from the obvious strength it takes for him to keep wrecking the apartment building, he is able to split a jawbreaker which Vanellope says is unbreakable, lift and trash much of the racing stadium, smash Vanellope's kart, and more. This is important in the climax.
Sympathy for the Devil: The story does a good job establishing this for Ralph at the start. (The backstory of the game is that Ralph's home tree was cut down to build the building that is the setting for Fix-It Felix Jr. The stump is at the dump Ralph lives in.)
Take That: While the initial idea of the modern era of gaming being represented by a First-Person Shooter already had shades of thisnote (To clarify, this isn't a Take That aimed at that genre per se, but rather, one aimed at the way FPSs are near-omnipresent in the gaming industry today. Nintendo systems aside, shooters are pretty much everywhere. In other words, if someone was asked to define Video Games with one genre, the go-to one would have been, say, the platform genre in The Nineties, while today it's pretty much safe to say that grim 'n' gritty shooters are the first thing coming to mind when thinking of the medium. The parody-named FPS in the movie is named Hero's Duty, after the well-known sequel-spawning Cash Cow Franchise.), Ralph's line "When did video games become so violent and scary?" further drives the point home.
Although "Hero's Duty" has many gritty elements of modern games, it is actually a Light Gun Game instead of a First-Person Shooter, especially given its arcade heritage. This is further enforced by a promotional version of "Hero's Duty" on Disney's web site, which plays like a conventional Light Gun Game.
Used as a Brick Joke after the conflict of the movie is resolved.
Tastes Like Diabetes:invoked The game world Sugar Rush lives up to this trope as close to literally as you can get.
Teleport Spam: Vanellope's glitching causes her to randomly relocate a few feet in a random direction. Once she learns how to control her glitching, she can teleport at will, which she uses to save Ralph from his attempted Heroic Sacrifice by glitching around and through an incoming onslaught of Cy-Bugs. It also makes her the game's best racer in the end, because she can teleport through the other racers.
Tempting Fate: Ralph, watching the race, says, "Okay, kid. Let's finish this thing without any more surprises." Right as Calhoun makes it to the race track...
That Came Out Wrong: Hero's Duty has the unfortunate trait of sounding like a pun on another word for human excrement. It's even intentionally used in its commercial's tagline: "It's the biggest Duty of all."
There Was a Door: As per his nature, Ralph crashes through a lot of walls in this movie. His ability to do this actually factors into the plan Vanellope cooks up.
This Is Not a Drill: The "Quarter Alert" announcement in Hero's Duty, initiated when a player has put enough quarters into the game to earn a play credit.
Time Passes Montage: The opening shows time in the arcade passing as new games are moved in to replace the old, with Ralph's game forming the centerpiece as the popular one that never changes. What really helps sell it is that the Fix-It Felix Jr. machine is sitting right next to a Pac-Man machine, one of the few games you're almost guaranteed to find in any arcade. This also provides justification for why Pac-Man and Clyde appear in the movie and why Clyde seems to be the head of the support group (being among the oldest still around).
It's not entirely clear-cut, though. The others are all aggressive race car drivers and not any more or less girly than Vanellope. Vanellope, who wears cutesy clothing like the others and wants to do the same things the other girls are doing, stands out because she is unkempt and homeless by no fault of her own, not because she is unfeminine.
Vanellope could be considered the Girly Girl to Calhoun's Tomboy. But this is also subverted at the end, since Vanellope would rather be an elected leader than a princess, while Calhoun is a bride in the finale.
Tough Love: Ralph destroys Vanellope's kart in order to stop her from racing and save her life, despite knowing how much it will hurt her and ruin their friendship. Averted when King Candy pretends he's trying to protect Vanellope, but later is revealed to be actually lying.
Town with a Dark Secret: So secret that nobody even remembers it because King Candy/Turbo locked everyone's memories away.
Ralph: What's going on in this candy-coated heart of darkness?
Trailers Always Lie: The promotional merchandise gives you the impression that the crossover between games means a lot to the story, but they're mostly there for the Rule of Cool and the Rule of Funny; the only crossover that matters is between games that don't exist.
Tropaholics Anonymous: Ralph is part of a group that helps video-game villains deal with their problems and help cope with their lot in life, though apparently the opening sequence is actually his first time attending it.
Trope Namers: In-Universe, Turbo's game jumping fiasco that caused two games to be unplugged would be known from that point on as "Going Turbo".
Unexpected Character: Show of hands, in a movie about video game characters, who expected a cameo from Beard Papa?note Beard Papa is a Japanese-based restaurant chain that specializes in desserts, mostly cream puffs. There are 300 locations, but 250 of them are in Japan itself. In the movie, Beard Papa's mascot is the sleeping security guard.
The Unmasqued World: Averted; nobody ever realizes that the videogame characters are sentient and living in their own world. If something goes wrong (like Turbo invading a Road Blasters cabinet), they just think the game is glitching and call the arcade manager to look at it. And not even he really knows what's happening; all he does is slap "Out of Order" posters on the screens or replace the machines altogether.
Sgt. Calhoun:(to Felix) Who the holy hotcakes are you?Though this line isn't actually said in the film. Vanellope: Sweet mother of monkey milk! Felix: Jimminy jamminy! Vanellope: C'mon, Ralph, move your molasses! Ralph: Sweet mother hubbard! Felix: Yikes on bikes! King Candy: Milk my duds!
An important one mentioned by a few characters is the phrase "Going Turbo". This concept is a reference to another game character who decided to jump to another game and ended up destroying both that game and his own.
Vader Breath: Invoked so that the audience realises Ralph is in the pool and using a Reed Snorkel to breathe. Funnily, the sound doesn't come in until after the guards leave the scene, and (obviously) stops when Ralph removes the straw. The sound is identical to that of Vader's breathing as it was made the same way: breathing with a scuba tank.
Vague Age: While all game characters are technically immortal unless they die along with their game or outside of it, Ralph looks to be about in his 30s, albeit a giant, Felix and Calhoun seem to be in their late 20s, and Vanellope and all her racing rivals are supposedly about 9-10 years old.
The games they come from (and by extension, the characters themselves) have different ages: Ralph and Felix have both been around for 30 years each, Vanellope's game has been around since 1997, making her chronologically 15 years old and Calhoun's game was only just installed a week before the events of the movie, making her the youngest character chronologically.
The Villain Makes the Plot: In-universe: Fix-It Felix Jr. is unplayable without Ralph there to smash up the building, leaving Felix nothing to fix to complete the level. Felix himself seems all too aware that a hero is only as good as his villain.
Villainous Breakdown: King Candy slips into one after getting bypassed by Vanellope in the daily race for who gets to appear in the character roster, and resorts to trying to kill Vanellope with a car-part and getting his true form revealed.
King Candy: I'm Turbo! The greatest racer ever! And I did notreprogram this world to let you, and that halitosis-riddenwarthog, TAKE IT AWAY FROM ME!
Villain Protagonist: Ralph is this if you take his label as a "bad guy" at face value, though in terms of actual character outside the game he lives in he's not really evil at all and has no malicious intentions at any point in the story. In the Defictionalization of Fix It Felix Jr. however, Ralph is a straight Villain Antagonist.
Villains Out Shopping: The film establishes that video game villains have social lives and such when not "engaged in their employment".
Visual Pun: When Vanellope is locked up, you'll see several pics of things on the wall: a sad clown, a lion, etc. There's also a doghouse, with only eyes showing out of the darkness inside. Because anyone in the dungeon is 'in the doghouse'.
The shot from Ralph's point of view that shows Vanellope on the side of the game console that leads to the above line.
The shot of Vanellope's sparking box of code, meaning a.) she is't a glitch like everyone is saying and b.) someone (AKA King Candy) intentionally removed her from the game system.
Vanellope making King Candy glitch, leading to The Reveal of the latter's true identity. Even Ralph and Felix's jaws drop when this happened.
What a Piece of Junk: Vanellope's new car ends up getting some very sloppy decorations thanks to Ralph accidentally breaking the car-baking minigame, but she makes it from last place to first place when everyone else had a least a good minute head-start, meaning stats-wise it's probably superior to even King Candy's ride. And when Vanellope learns how to master her glitching, she can Teleport Spam it at will.
What the Hell, Hero?: Ralph was given one by Gene, after the former returns to the Niceland Apartments with a medal in hand, but discovers that it's out of order. To add the twist to the knife, Gene sounded genuinely disappointed rather than being furious or being smug.
Widowed at the Wedding: As described by one of the Hero's Duty's NPCs, Sergeant Calhoun's fiancé was killed by Cy-Bugs when she failed to do a perimeter check on their wedding day - "the most tragic backstory ever".
Wolverine Publicity: Zigzagged. While there is a movie poster that features only the four main characters, others have one of the four surrounded by some of the movie's many cameos. While the film's makers certainly crafted the story first, cameos are highly advertised - the Sega and Nintendo characters are right on the cover when they have very little to do or say. Most watchers expected them to feature far more heavily in the movie than they really did.
The movie's character sometimes isn't even the most prominent character in the poster!note You can view them all here
In-universe, this trope sets off the climax! Vanellope is prominently painted on the Sugar Rush arcade cabinet, the one piece of evidence King Candy had no control over covering in his quest for attention, and it's what clues Ralph in to how to make everything better! To gamers, they must be wondering why this raven haired girl is nowhere in the actual game!
World-Healing Wave: Vanellope's victory causes the system to reset, undoing all the damage caused by the Cy-Bugs and King Candy/Turbo, as well as restoring her proper place in the game and the other characters' memories of her.
Worth It: In the ending: Ralph's every in-game defeat becomes a chance to see Vanellope succeeding at her game.
The cast of the Fix-It Felix Jr. game invite older video game characters to join in "Bonus Stages" in their world, even though death for them there would be permanent. However, given that only Felix has the most significant risk of dying in this world, the risk to their lives is at best negligible and it's a lot better than being homeless. Also, Felix is shown to be able to heal people as well as fix stuff, thus helping grant the outcasts and decommissioned characters a better life. Fans also theorize that Felix tampered with the code to integrate the outcasts properly - making them legitimate characters and safe from permadeath.