Wreck-it Ralph is similar to Toy Story in that it explores the lives of arcade characters during the night hours of arcades and behind the screens. Ralph, the protagonist, is the villain of a popular game. Unfortunately, he's under-appreciated and misunderstood by the other characters of the game even when they're not playing their game roles. What follows is a mash-up journey through different arcade games as Ralph attempts to redeem his image and gain respect, love, and friendship even though the other arcade villains tell him that "being bad is okay and there's nothing you can do about it."
The original games in the movie hearken to our favorites -- Donkey Kong, Mario Kart, Call of Duty, and more. There's something about the familiar sound-effects, candy coated graphics, and the soundtrack (that often shifts to 8-bit chip-breakcore) that hits the pleasure center of my brain. Darn you, Rich Moore, for exploiting my childhood!
Ralph is a sympathetic and lovable character, in no small part to John C. Reilly's brilliant voice. He's the heart behind the movie's best moments. In retrospect, the underlying story might not be that original, but what makes a story good is not always the originality, but how it distracts the audience from realizing how traditional its themes and story are. The story was so cleverly manipulated and unfolded that I was a willing audience and player from beginning to end. The story interweaves and brings together many different lines in a satisfactory and effortless way.
Bottom line though, I felt so good about life after this movie was done. Go see this movie. I think it should win animation of the year.
On a final note, the short before Wreck-it Ralph was Paperman by John Kahrs which melded 2D with CG and...was practically perfect.