“Wreck-it Ralph” a Lesson on What It Means to Be a Hero

SPOILER ALERT: The following blog post will discuss details about the movie “Wreck-it Ralph.” You’ve been warned. And, yes, it’s worth watching it in 3-D.

In the Disney 3-D animated movie, “Wreck-it Ralph,”the title character, Ralph, starts off with a confession: he’s sick of being treated like a bad guy. Ralph is the villain in the video game, and Fix-it Felix, Jr. is the hero of the game. Ralph is jealous of the festivities, rewards, and pies that Felix gets from the people of Niceland, the tenants that occupy this video game world.

One night, the people of Niceland throw a 30th anniversary party for Felix, but don’t invite Ralph, even though, technically, the video game is named after Ralph, not Felix. The people of Niceland mistreat him, and make him out to be a social outcast. They way the tenants of Niceland treat Ralph isn’t actually very nice. And even Felix didn’t exactly show hero like behavior when he tried to keep Ralph away from the festivities. They cannot see Ralph beyond role he was programmed to play, and cannot see that he’s actually a good guy.

Ralph wants the kind of treatment that Fix gets. He wants to be a treated like a hero. So he sets off on his quest to win himself a medal so that he can be treated like a hero. He jumps into another game, but rather than winning a medal, he, well, for a lack of a better term, steals a medal. And, of course, chaos ensues.

What Ralph discovers along this journey is that winning a medal is not what makes you a hero. Being a hero is more than a title or a role in a videogame. Ralph learns that your actions define your character, not a medal, and not your code. Ralph learns that having the courage to face your fears, and helping people in need is what makes you a hero. Eventually, he learns to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the game. And that’s what makes him a hero.

Ralph is a villain in title only. He can’t help it; it’s in his code. But in his 8-bit digital heart, he is a good guy.

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