Wreck-It Ralph trailer breakdown: all the movie’s references so far
The headline cast for Disney’s upcoming Wreck-It Ralph is a sterling assemblage of comic talent: John C Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch? Those four alone could wring comedy out of cancer patients reading from the phone book. Luckily for the sake of good taste, they’ve opted instead to star in a CG cartoon about video games; and luckily for fans, someone realized that gamers tend to be obsessive completists who love nothing more than a good Easter Egg hunt, and accordingly have filled the movie with videogame nods.
And luckily for you, there’s no one more obsessive or completist than us. We’ve gone through every trailer so far released (opens in new tab) with a fine-tooth comb, then when that didn’t work we went back to watching them in high-res with a quick finger on the pause button. Come with us on a journey of discovery, recognition, old (pixellated) friends and new (polygonal) faces…
Donkey Kong/Jumpman (Donkey Kong series)
Wreck-It Ralph revolves around John C Reilly’s eponymous villain, who’s spent some 30 years as the foil to Jack McBrayer’s Fix-It Felix in a game that’s a pretty unmistakeable riff on Nintendo’s Donkey Kong. While DK himself took a hero turn a mere year after the first game’s release, Ralph’s career apparently never made it to the Jaunty SNES-era reboot phase; he’s stuck instead at the receiving end of the transparently Jumpman-inspired Felix’s golden hammer.
Dance Dance Revolution
One of the only Konami references to make the trailer (we’ll get to that later) is a prominently-displayed Dance Dance Revolution X2 cabinet, housed within the arcade Wreck-It Ralph calls home. The sequence is mainly an excuse to foreshadow Sugar Rush and Hero’s Duty, the movie’s custom-created games featuring characters played by Silverman and Lynch respectively; however, other cabinets shown include Space Invaders, Wack-a-Mole, Frogger, Street Fighter II and Virtua Cop (we’ll see more of these later too).
Bowser (Super Mario series)
Director Rich Moore says he tried (opens in new tab) to get videogaming’s own plunger-toting figurehead (Mario, duh) into the film, but that Nintendo’s fee was too high to justify the inclusion. But apparently the plumber’s reptilian(?) nemesis still works for scale.
Look real closely in the trailer’s Game Central Station scene and you’ll also see red-shelled turtle soldiers, at a loose end until the boss gets back from his meeting. The decent thing would have been to tell them, guys, I’m off to try and deal with this insatiable thirst for evil, take the afternoon for yourselves… but then that’s why these are villains, right?
Ken & Ryu/Bison/Zangief (Street Fighter II)
Fittingly for a game about the bygone heyday of video arcades, the title given the most Wreck-It love is probably Capcom’s Street Fighter II–itself arguably the biggest arcade title since Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. An early sequence features a remarkably well-kept SF2 cabinet (what, no Hyper Fighting?), and Bison and Zangief feature heavily in the trailer’s most prominent scene.
Some might wonder what Zangief’s doing at a villains’ support group–but then, he does seem the only one with anything useful to say, so maybe he’s more of a Steve Earle-type figure? Anyway, don’t dwell on that too long, because…
Cammy/Chun Li (Street Fighter II)
…Wreck-It Ralph will apparently have a whole new generation of dedicated virtual lechers honing their pause-reflexes and squintin’-muscles, trying to catch a glimpse of Chun Li and Cammy. They’re both in the background of the same scene, the Game Central Station area, which also features characters and call-outs including Burger Time, earlier Disney movies, and some more we’ll get to later.
Sonic/Eggman (Sonic the Hedgehog)
Also featured in the support group is the unrepentantly fiendish Dr. Ivo Robotnik, aka Dr. Eggman; the character’s foil, Sonic the Hedgehog himself, doesn’t appear in the trailer save as a billboard within the movie’s Game Central Station environment. Presumably they don’t have video games within the world of video game characters (that would be like if we started a site called RadarRadar featuring only news on our correspondents’ adventures, and no we’re not doing that); so maybe Sonic is running for office or opening a burger joint or something?
Kano (Mortal Kombat)
A support group for videogame villains ought to be a safe haven from do-gooding antagonists, but even bad-on-bad matchups contain their share of potential conflict. Bison and Zangief appear to be keeping their hands off of Kano, the one-eyed ne’er-do-well from SFII’s shouty American cousin; but they’ve still been sat as far as possible from the cyclopean Sagat-a-like. Who knows what happens when the cameras leave… and real life begins??
Namco’s spherical ur-mascot is absent from the trailer, though the game makes plenty of appearances. A cabinet sits alongside Wreck-It Ralph within the clip’s video arcade, and Ralph’s later seen munching on a Cherry powerup such as players used to grab back when Pac-Man was king of the arcades. Clyde, one of the game’s ghostly antagonists (and thus one of gaming’s first recognizable bad guys), also appears as a moderator in the support group scene.
Vandal (Rise of the Robots)
Okay, you’re free to dispute this one, because if everyone was able to identify Rise of the Robots characters on sight it would imply something pretty terrible about all of our childhoods (namely, that they were spent familiarizing ourselves with characters from terrible mid-90s cyber-brawlers). But take a look at this yellow, buzzsaw-handed freakshow and tell us it’s not a dead-ringer for Rise 2’s Vandal. Or alternatively, take our word for it and then go back to never having played Rise of the Robots.