Maybe it's the 1980s and 1990s nostalgia for vintage video games.

Maybe it's John C Reilly's and Sarah Silverman's terrific performances as Ralph and Vanellope.

Maybe it's that so many animated movies lately have been simply OK (Frankenweenie) or Meh (Brave).

But something about Wreck-It Ralph made my cold critic's heart grow three sizes.

Ralph plays the bad-guy in a Rampage/Donkey Kong hybrid and he's tired of being the bad guy. To be a good guy he needs a medal, so he ransacks other games at the arcade in search of one.

This leads to run-ins with Jane Lynch as a hard-ass commando in an alien future, Silverman as a glitchy avatar who wants to win a racing game, and Jack McBrayer as Fix-it Felix, Jr., Ralph's in-game counterpart.

Somehow, the filmmakers have crammed enough laughs, pathos, drama and downright giddiness into Wreck-it Ralph to make one overlook just how plot-heavy it is.

Bonus: On-screen time for Food Fight, possibly the greatest upright game ever.

Picking out the inspirations for all the in-movie games is half the fun.

The stakes are never high, but we're talking about video games; it's worth your stack of quarters. Plus, the opening short, Paperman, is really cute.

Regal Santa Fe Stadium 14 / PG / 93 min.