Heartwarming: Wreck-It Ralph
Ah, Disney canon
, you have it all: Lil' Mermaids
, leonine royals
, girls who changed their fate and that of the entire nation of China
... you name it.
And now, we have Video Games
with this movie!
Sure, some people
say Video Games aren't art, but even then, some also say toys aren't art either, and that didn't keep PIXAR
from showing us the heart behind toys.
So, thanks to Disney
, let's see which Heartwarming Moments
lie behind Video Games
- Doubles as a Tear Jerker, but there's something about Felix trying to help out his buddy Ralph when Ralph tries to crash Felix's 30th anniversary party while the Nicelanders just act like jerks to him as usual, even after he loses his cool and smashes the cake.
- Even before the cake. Felix helps out Ralph even after he (unintentionally) kills him just by entering the party. Notice how quickly he reassures the other Nicelanders that he's "okay" after Ralph does it.
- Another that doubles as a Tear Jerker is when Ralph explains how the medal would win him respect and make the other game characters treat him right, and Vanellope responds that racing would do the same for her. It's sad, but the way her face lights up when she realizes that they're Not So Different after all.
- Ralph passing one of his cherries pilfered from the Pac-Man game to a group of Q*Bert characters at the Game Central Station, whose game has been unplugged and thus are unemployed, begging for food.
Ralph: Here you go, buddy. It's fresh. Straight from Pac-Man.
- The idea of baddies helping each other out is a nice one. A zombie has the intelligence to explain how labels don't define who you are.
Zombie: Zangief saying labels not make you happy. Good! Bad! [groans] You must love you.
- Bonus points for this line coming from Zangief, who genuinely isn't a villain, but is a frequent target of Adaptational Villainy.
Zangief: You are bad guy, but this does not mean you are bad guy.
- The bad guy affirmation. Say what you will about the villains of video games, but you can't deny that they really know that their labels as baddies don't define who they really are.
Villains: 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.
- This also works together with the above mentioned moment in which Q*Bert and his enemies sit together, further enhancing the feeling that outside of their games, the heroes and villains are on friendly terms.
- When the bad-guys are boarding the Pac-Man-o-rail after the Bad-Anon meeting at the start of the film, Zangief pats a spot next to him, offering the seat to Ralph.
- Ralph repeats the Bad Guy affirmation during his Heroic Sacrifice by divebombing headfirst into Mentos on Diet Cola Mountain as a Meaningful Echo.
- Felix and Calhoun's protectiveness toward Vanellope as the Cy-bugs are destroying Sugar Rush. Calhoun even reaches down to grab her hand as they retreat.
- Even more heartwarming? When Felix and Calhoun make it out of Sugar Rush and see that Vanellope can't get out, what do they do? Stay and protect her from the Cy-bugs. Then you remember how Calhoun said earlier that they needed to close the portal of Sugar Rush that leads to the Game Central Station.
- Adding a sweet layer to this, when Ralph races off to wreck the mountain, he tells Vanellope to "stay with Felix." He trusts his old frenemy enough that, before dying, he leaves him the care of his first real friend.
- Even if the other Nicelanders only care that without Ralph, their game will get unplugged, Felix seems to be genuinely worried when Ralph goes missing.
- And if Ralph wasn't adorable enough already, there's his response to Sgt. Calhoun's line about it being time to "make your mamas proud".
- "I'm not leaving you here alone." You may not be a Good Guy, Ralph, but you're a hero all the same.
- Ralph smashes into the candy prison where Felix is trapped. Felix gives the big guy a hug. D'awww.
- Which gets led into a double subversion when Felix is understandably upset with Ralph for game-jumping, and attempts to scold him, but quickly reconciles with him after discovering how hard of a life Ralph has had, even after-hours, when no one played the game.
- Ralph and Vanellope have a beautiful Crowning Friendship of Heartwarming. Highlights include:
- The two of them signing their names on the race car they built together.
- The scene where Ralph and Vanellope bake a kart together. You could see the both of them are having a special and fun bonding moment together while playing the mini-games. But if that wasn't heartwarming and adorable enough, after they finish baking the kart, which is functional but rather misshapen from Ralph's destructive decorating, Ralph tries to apologize to a shocked-looking Vanellope. Rather than be disappointed, though, she bursts into happiness, squealing and jumping up and down with joy at the fact that she finally has a real kart. As Vanellope does this, Ralph makes a subtle sigh as his heart melts along with the audience.
- That and Ralph's attempt at an apology was a genuinely selfless moment, yet when she said he loved it, Ralph's theme started playing. He had done something right finally.
- When she's worried about what the players will think of her, Ralph gives her some encouragement.
Vanellope: Ralph, what if the gamers don't like me?
Ralph: Who doesn't love a brat with dirty hair? [Vanellope sulks] Come on, those people are going to love you, you know why? [lifts her chin] Because you're a winner.
Vanellope: I'm a winner!
Ralph: And you're adorable.
Vanellope: I'm adorable!
Ralph: And everyone loves an adorable winner.
- Their fist bump (AKA fist pound or brofist).
- The way Vanellope says "Top shelf!" when she and Ralph fist bump. She just sounds so excited to finally have a real friend and a chance at happiness and...d'aawwww...
- The medal she makes for him, especially how he treasures it from then on.
- When Ralph enters Vanellope's prison cell with the fixed car; she's surprised and gets him to insult himself as a little payback, but it's clear she has already forgiven him and it's a reprisal of their playful Volleying Insults earlier.
I know, I know, I know, I'm an idiot. Vanellope:
A real numbskull. Vanellope: And...? Ralph:
A selfish diaper-baby. Vanellope: And... Ralph:
...A stinkbrain? Vanellope:
The stinkiest brain ever.
- THIS. Never has a failed attempt at being scary been so cute.
- The beginning of the "Olympic Vault" TV spot. Vanellope does a vault over Ralph's head and he awards her a perfect score. Look at the adorable smile he gives her afterwards. LOOK AT IT.
- Vanellope's fist pump after seeing her score was adorable, too.
- Why don't we all just say that these two simply are one of the best examples ever of a genuinely platonic Like Brother and Sister pair ever put to the animated screen. Everything they do together even from their rocky start, to their classic Big Stupid Doodoo Head send off will melt any heart.
- The sequence where Vanellope is learning to drive the kart. Tell me you weren't instantly reminded of your own mom or dad teaching you to ride a bike watching that scene.
- Towards the end, when Ralph is getting ready to head back to his own game, he shares one last hug with Vanellope and they have this little exchange.
- Vanellope's winsome smile after Ralph says that was as heart-melting as the tears in her eyes were.
- When Ralph gets the Hero's Medal in Hero's Duty, he is surrounded by holograms of soldiers that all congratulate him for his "heroics." Even though he just climbed up there to get the medal rather than actually doing anything heroic, he's still overjoyed to actually be praised for once in his life.
- He beat the game on his own terms, using his two main skills (climbing up buildings and smashing windows).
- Even better, everything the hologram says about his heroics is true of Ralph by the end of the movie. This also includes the bits praising his dignity and grace (despite comically lacking both earlier). When Ralph is diving fist first down to the Mentos/Diet Cola volcano to save Sugar Rush and Vanellope, he knows full well he's facing a scalding hot death. What does he do? Glance at the "You're my hero!" medal Van gave him, and recite the BadAnon affirmation. That right there is the textbook definition of dignity and grace under pressure.
- Ralph: I'm bad, and that's good. I'll never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be.....than me.
- Felix calling Ralph "brother" a few times throughout the movie.
- There's even a progression, as Felix initially asks people if they've seen his "colleague", then his "friend", and then later "brother".
- At the very end, Felix yells, "You did it, Ralph! Way to go, brother!" Felix may have spent most of the film being strikingly oblivious, but unlike Turbo he doesn't grudge Ralph his well-earned glory.
- The ending with Ralph and Vanellope seeing each other through their respective games' monitors and smiling.
Ralph: Turns out, I don't need a medal to tell me I'm a good guy. Because if that little kid likes me, how bad can I be?
- Oh man, the way that Ralph is able to say that being thrown off the top of the apartment is his favourite part of the game because it lets him look out and see Vanellope being happy brings to mind one of the greatest heartwarming moments in Western animation: the famous "Do it for her" ending of The Simpsons episode "And Maggie Makes Three". The way a man can find happiness even in something that's supposed to be unpleasant and degrading just by being reminded of his daughter/best friend brings a lump to the throat. Considering the movie was directed by Rich Moore, best known for his work on The Simpsons (just not that particular episode), this may well have been intentional.
- That line must surely be one of the most heartwarming last lines ever seen in any movie. The fact that the credits immediately afterward start with the uplifting "When Can I See You Again?" by Owl City helps this.
- Vanellope is showing off her cart to the other racers, which they immediately start breaking and taunting and insulting her. Ralph can be seen looking on from over a hill, initially intending to get his medal back from Vanellope, but when he sees Vanellope crying and trying to get the others to stop, what does he do? He charges down and scares them away, telling them to get away from her. While Ralph is still mad and doesn't trust Vanellope, he knows what it's like to be treated like that.
- At the end of the movie, Ralph gets more respect from the Nicelanders, getting a cake with him on top that has a medal on it, for 'Our Favorite Bad Guy', and Felix uses the bricks and his fixing powers to make him a real house.
- To top it all off with a cherry, Ralph and Felix hacked their game's code to include a Bonus Level, with Q*Bert and his friends making cameo appearances as Nicelanders and Ralph's minions in the bonus level. This boosts the game's popularity enormously and gives it a new lease on life. Q*Bert and company even finally get their own homes to live in where the dump used to be.
- Calhoun gets her wedding, finally. One during which her fiancÚ is NOT devoured by Cy-bugs. Sure, he may not be Mr. Long, Tan and Handsome, but he thinks she's a dynamite gal, too, and that's enough for her. It would seem Felix really can fix anything, including a broken heart.
- Oh, and Felix chose Ralph as the best man. Sweet, right?
- Vanellope is also there in her princess dress. In her rightful place as an official character, she can visit other games.
- Even better? Vanellope is the Maid of Honor. She and Calhoun must have really hit it off.
- Even better, some of the Nicelanders (including Gene), and characters like Zangief and Sonic have attended the wedding.
- Doubles as Funny, but when their gaze turns to the window, where the Cy-Bug came in last time, dozens of laser sights are instantly trained on it. Cut to the bride's side, which is filled entirely with armed marines ready to dust any bug that tries to crash the party. It shows that her soldiers want her to have her happy ending and will do anything to ensure it. Aww!
- When Felix first meets Calhoun and compliments her two of the marines look at each other behind Calhoun's back and grin. They approve of their boss' finding new love.
- "To Stinkbrain, You're my hero!"
- Vanellope finally crosses the finish line, and doing so resets all of the changes King Candy/Turbo put in the game. This also lets Vanellope become what she was supposed to be... the real ruler of Sugar Rush. Also, this lets everyone remember who she really is (and they realize to their horror that they were monsters to their princess). After a joke about executing them, Vanellope forgives them for being mean. After all, it was never their fault that they were antagonizing.
- Moreover, Vanellope even gives Ralph a chance to stay with her in Sugar Rush. He declines it, but this shows how close the two have become in the end.
- At the end, after Moppet Girl wins a race in Sugar Rush using Vanellope's glitching abilities, not only does Vanellope win a trophy for herself, but when she poses with her fist in the air, Moppet Girl also fist-bumps her. Aww.
- The context of that scene is even better, truly a Joyful Tear Jerker. The ending implies that ever since his adventure, Ralph looks at the Sugar Rush cabinet every time he's about to fall down the building now, and in that scene, he looks at Vanellope.
- After the reset, one expects to see that Vanellope has her own designed car but instead she uses the car that she made with Ralph.◊
- You can see the original car on the side of the game cabinet. It's the one King Candy used.
- And it gets better than that. Some viewers expected an ending where Ralph does wind up in another game as a good guy, since trying to be more than a bad guy is his central conflict in the movie! But nope. He goes back to the role he always had for 30 years, but he's fine with it now because not only did his departure make Felix and the Nicelanders realize just how important the Villain is to the game, but now he's got the love of one little girl who calls him her hero! The fact that the movie enforces Status Quo Is God while still giving a happy ending to everyone makes this a more realistic happy ending than most of Disney's previous films!
- And it gets even better still when you remember that Ralph's quest was never really about becoming the good guy, per se. He had no real problem with the bad guy role itself. As he said in the very beginning of the movie, what he truly wanted was a friend. Or a medal. Or a piece of pie once in a while. Basically, he wanted more out of life. And he got all of the above.
- Q*Bert & Co in general. Their game was unplugged presumably because either there was a glitch or because it was unpopular/did not get enough play time to warrant it being there. However, as the retro secret level shows, just because you don't have a successful/long tailed game, doesn't mean you aren't beloved since said spoiler only increases the popularity of Fix-It Felix Jr.
- The end credits. It gives Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs a running for most heartwarming end credits.
- If you pay attention to the Tapper part of the credits, you'll see that the person getting a drink next to Ralph requires two hands, and has a turquoise shirt. Looks like Vanellope does still hang out with Ralph!
- Just the way Litwak goes "Ralph's back!" when he comes with the repairman is heartwarming. He doesn't just care about his customers; he cares about the games he populates the arcade with.
- Veers into Fridge Brilliance when you remember that Fix-It Felix Jr. has been in his arcade for 30 years. It's all but family at that point.
- Throughout the film, in fact, Litwak refers to Ralph and Felix equally, showing he at least views them as equally important, and cares about the characters of the games just as much as the games themselves. This also explains why he celebrates Ralph's return specifically instead of the game being fixed.
- Ryu and Ken going out for a root beer together.
- What Ralph mutters to King Candy after he explains to him the reason Vanellope can't race.
Ralph: You don't know that. The gamers could love her.
- And at the end of the film, he turns out to be correct: Vanellope becomes the most popular character.
- While lodged within a Tear Jerker, just look at how incredibly happy Vanellope is when she's finally chosen to race within King Candy's apocalyptic warning to Ralph. Fridge Heartwarming, perhaps, because you just know she must have been that darn happy when she was REALLY chosen for the first time.
- Blink and you'll miss it, but when Felix and Calhoun are about to enter Sugar Rush, there's a Meaningful Background Event depicting Q*bert and his friends sitting on a bench when Peter Pepper appears and serves them a quality meal on the house. Screen cap here◊.
- Something about watching Ralph and Felix riding on the back of Vanellope's cart together just seems so adorable.
- The fact that Q*Bert went out of his way to warn Felix what Ralph is doing. Both out of concern for him and his arcade as well as to repay the kindness Ralph showed him.
- When Ralph has resigned himself to the fate of permanent death by hot cola, Vanellope saves him at the last second. The look of joy on Ralph's face when he realizes what happened is just so great.
- Then he falls into a pool of chocolate, which he has said he hated twice in the movie. But this time he yells that he loves chocolate and practically takes a bath in it. Probably because he's so happy to be alive.
- It's REALLY hard to hear, but when Ralph saves the day and Felix kisses Calhoun and she picks him up, looking like she's ready to kill him, you can hear Felix say "I, uh, missed you".
- Actually, he says "Uhmm, excuse me-" before she kisses him since he thought she got mad at him, but it doesn't make the moment any less sweet and aww-tastic.
- When Ralph and Vanellope find out that they're Not So Different in their roles in their games. Once Vanellope states that she can't leave the game like Ralph can to escape the taunts, Ralph says nothing. He just punches out a track for Vanellope to practice driving.
- In the Post Movie book One Sweet Race, it is revealed the racers really are nicer to Vanellope now. What's heartwarming is that Vanellope comforts Rancis when he sells everything he owns to just win a race, and even helps him make a kart. This is particularly heartwarming given that Rancis was one of the three who most bullied Vanellope (along with Candlehead, under the leadership of Taffyta), but she's forgiven him to the extent that it's implied that he has become her boyfriend.
- When Sour Bill tells Ralph that Vanellope is in the dungeon "with Fix-It Felix," Ralph is obviously surprised. Part of it is obviously just surprise at the fact that they have the guy locked up, but it's quite likely that there was also some surprise that Felix really did come looking for him, and even ended up in the right place. Combine it with the look of shock when Felix hugs him later, and it becomes pretty clear that Ralph never realized that Felix actually does give a damn, which has to feel good after thinking that no one in your game even tolerated you.
- Adding to that, when he goes to break them out? He breaks out Felix first. Sure, that may have been partly because he needed him to fix the cart, but up till that point, he hadn't been thinking of anything other than helping Vanellope. And yet he still goes to help the guy who's done nothing to help him for 30 years first. That right there shows that he cares about Felix too.
- The first and last lines of the movie, when put together.
Ralph: My name's Ralph, and I'm a bad guy.
Ralph: If that little kid likes me, how bad can I be?
- In a strange way, Ralph's destroying Vanellope's cart has a sweet undertone, for all its Tear Jerker Kick the Dog elements. There's no malicious intent; he's genuinely afraid that something bad will happen to her if she races. It's clearly an unbearably painful thing for him to do — destroying the first thing he ever created, something he never thought was even possible because he was programmed to "break things," and he knows the best friend he's ever had is going to hate him for it — but he's willing to do whatever it takes to protect her, no matter how much it hurts.
- Plus as noted above, he later has her kart fixed before he saves her.
- King Candy telling Ralph the true reason of why Vanellope cannot race, calling him a hero and giving him the medal. It seems that, in the inside, the king really cares about her... then it turns out that this is an utter lie, as King Candy is Turbo and a remorseless Manipulative Bastard.
- But he still has a point. Vanellope's glitching could lead to the game being unplugged. Since he forced his way into the game, King Candy/Turbo is a glitch too and he would die as well as Vanellope. So, he only cared about her because with her as the key to the conspiracy, if she goes, he goes too.
- The role of Q*Bert in the movie (a gameless character) was originally supposed to be filled by the main character from Dig Dug and his adversaries. Namco, however, denied them the use of the character—because the main character of Dig Dug canonically has a huge video game family (with the hero of Mr. Driller being his son, for example) and they said that none of his family would let him be out in the cold, and all would take care of him in their own games. D'awww!
- Speaking of Q*Bert, he's got a new game coming, thanks mostly to his popularity in this movie!
- The scene where Ralph sneaks into Hero's Duty shows us that when you play a first-person shooter, the characters really are talking to you!
- Secret Santa.
- A commentary of Ralph and Vanellope's entire relationship.
- This ad starring the Core Four.
- An animation of Ralph giving Vanellope a cupcake.