Is "Wreck It Ralph" Okay for 3-Year-Olds?

Is Wreck It Ralph okay for 3 year olds, mama knows it all

Every since Ayva and I saw the preview for “Wreck It Ralph” at “Finding Nemo 3D” a couple of months ago, we’ve been anticipating its opening. As much as I enjoy introducing my little girl to all of the movies that I loved years ago, I have to say, the new movies, with their 21st century technology are just so cool! “Wreck It Ralph” is a great example of that coolness. The movie is about Ralph, a character in a game called, “Fix-It Felix, Jr”. Ralph’s job is to wreck the things that Felix fixes, so naturally Ralph is the bad guy. Tired of being left out (he sleeps in a dump instead of the apartment building that the rest of the characters live in), Ralph decides that he’s going to win a medal and show everyone that he can be a hero, too. Throughout the movie, I just kept shaking my head and muttering, “Brilliant. This is brilliant.” That’s of course, in between the laughs, the  oohs and aahs…and holding back tears. Yes, y’all, “Wreck It Ralph” has a lot of surprisingly tender moments, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I was touched by them.

The movie was about, as Ayva describes it, “a guy named Wreck It Ralph who was a mean guy. He had a talk and decided he wanted to be nice.” That’s the story in a nutshell, but trust us, there was so many more themes than just “the misunderstood bad guy.” The theme that resonated with me the most, was connected to the movie’s other protagonist, Vanellope von Schweetz. Vanellope is a little girl who lives inside of Sugar Rush, a game that Ralph lands in. Vanellope is an outcast in her game because she is a “glitch”. Instead of allowing other people’s perception of her affect her feelings about herself, she embraces the thing that makes her unique, and ultimately, it’s her difference that helps her to succeed. Ladies, I absolutely recommend you go see it. And take your daughters.

Alright, so, let’s get to it. Is “Wreck It Ralph” okay for 3-year-olds?
YES

  • The movie is fast paced and physically funny. Even if some of the dialogue goes over their head, your little one will still enjoy the energy.
  • While some of the themes may be a bit mature for a 3-year-old, the characters (voice actors and their animated counterparts) do a fantastic job evoking simple emotions. Ayva knew when characters were sad, happy, excited, angry, etc. It could be a great conversation starter about how to deal with emotions (i.e. “What did Ralph do when he was mad? Was that a good way to handle being mad?”)
  • The majority of the film took place in the Sugar Rush game which is really bright and colorful. It gave the film a really fun feel, even during the less fun parts of the movie.
  • Although Ralph is supposed to be a “bad guy”, he’s really just a big ole teddy bear!

NO

  • If your child has sensory challenges, “Wreck It Ralph” might be a bit of an overload on them. It cuts from poppy colors to dark backgrounds and back really quickly in several instances. There are also a few really fast paced race scenes with loud music and quick dialogue that could be stressful.
  • The movie is long. It’s 1 hour and 48 minutes. Although Ayva was attentive the entire way through, I should note that we missed most of the previews and had to take a potty break at one point.
  • The most scary parts of the movie happen early, so it is possible that your little one will start crying and insist on leaving. If you can get them through the first 20 minutes, though, you should be good to go!
  • As always, you definitely want to make choices based on your own child’s personality and temperament. Ayva and I loved “Wreck It Ralph”, and even if your 3-year-old isn’t ready for it, I’d encourage you to see it on your own!