This film had the potential to be either awesome or a total waste of a good idea. Thankfully it was the former and we’re able to benefit not only from a great story, but from a great Gospel message. There was clearly a lot of love invested into the production of this movie, and that’s what made it a success. There are several cliché moments, but they were so fitting that I was actually happy they were there. Clichés aren’t always a bad thing.
Ralph is an essential part of his game, but he gets no respect from the other characters in it. After 30 years, he finally decides he wants to be the hero and he steps out of his game looking for glory. Let’s jump in with both feet and I’m going to tell you that Ralph is the Christ figure in this story, but they are quite different in significant ways. For one, when Ralph left his game, it was in search of self-glorification; in contrast, when Christ left Heaven, He was already glorified. Christ took off his glory and came seeking OUR glorification.
As humans, we often seek self-glorification. We want to prove to ourselves and others that we are valuable and meaningful. But the Bible tells us that our best works are filthy rags, and we all have fallen short of glory. So all of the effort we could possibly put into self-glorification will ultimately result in no glory at all. But we aren’t without hope of glory, because in Christ, we are made complete and we can look forward to the Day when we will be glorified with Him, forever.
Ralph looks here and there for glory and finds a metal in Hero’s Duty, which he thinks will bring him respect and glory back home in his game; but he loses it to a little girl named Vanellope Von Schweetz in a game called Sugar Rush. Vanellope is an outcast among the characters in her game because of her glitch problem. Her glitch stems from a character named Turbo, from an old game, long before Sugar Rush was ever programmed. Vanellope was once the ruler of her game, but Turbo reprogrammed the game, making Vanellope a glitch and himself the ruler.
That sounds a lot like what happened on Earth. Man-kind was once the ruler of Earth and the Cosmos by God’s granted dominion. Of course, God is and always will be the ruler of everything, but He created us to have dominion and entrusted the world to us. Satan, however, came and made a mess of things, and man became glitchy. Our glitch is sin, and as sinners, we’ve become slaves to sin; delivering the dominion we once had over to Satan.
When Ralph realizes what happened to Sugar Rush, he does everything he can to help Vanellope undo the work of Turbo, and restore her game to what it was originally designed to be. In the end, he willingly gives up his life to fall into Diet Cola Mountain, knowing that if he were to die outside his game, he would not respawn. In this selfless act, Ralph becomes a hero, and deserves glory; Vanellope is able to cross the finish line and her game is restored, with her role as princess restored as well.
Our hero, Jesus, rescued us by willingly giving up His life on Golgotha, which is Skull Mountain. By His sacrifice, we are healed of our glitch, and we look for the day when we’ll cross the finish line upon His return. Our world with be restored to what it was meant to be and as heirs of creation, we will again have dominion, perfect and forever. How much more glory does Christ deserve?

Bonus point: Vanellope still had a glitch… right?
It could be pointed out that Vanellope’s glitch was there even after Ralph’s sacrifice, and her game was restored. In fact, it was actually a skill of hers that made her a more capable driver, and a more desirable character for the players to choose. How does that fit in to the Gospel Exploration of the film?
Well, all sin is a deformed nature of a righteous ability of humans. For instance, lust is a deformed type of love; pride is a deformed version of recognizing the wealth God invested in one’s self and so on. Vanellope’s teleportation skill was deformed into an uncontrollable glitch. With Ralph’s help, the glitched form was restored into its original, pure form. In the same way, in Christ, our sinful ways will be redeemed into their originally intended pure forms. We’ll love like we were designed to, we will recognize our worth as coming from our Father and all of our other deformed natures will be redeemed into something very good.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Ralph leaves his game looking for respect and glory. What kind of things did he do to try and earn glory?
  2. What do you do trying to get glory? What does the Bible say is the only way for us to truly be glorified? (Isaiah 64:6 , Romans 8:17;  Phil 3:20-21)
  3. Vanellope Von Schweetz was designed to be the ruler of her game, but we learn that Turbo had come into her world to take her from her throne and make himself the ruler of the game. Did you know that humans were meant to be the rulers of our world? But Satan was jealous and he gave us a glitch, taking our dominion. The glitch we have is sin. (Gen 1:27-28, Psalm 8:4-6, Rom 6:16)
  4. Vanellope couldn’t stop glitching, no matter how hard she tried.  In the same way, all people sin and we can’t stop ourselves from sinning on our own. Vanellope and the other characters in her game can’t even remember what things were like before. Most people don’t know that there was once a time when humans didn’t sin. We had dominion over the Earth and communion with God. When sin entered the world, we lost it all. (Romans 8:19)
  5. In the end, Ralph helped restore Vanellope to her rightful role as ruler of her game. He did this by sacrificing himself on Diet Cola Mountain. One Day, we too will be restored and given dominion over the Earth because of Jesus, Who sacrificed Himself on Skull Mountain. (Mark 15:22, Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 8:15-17)