Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wreck it Ralph

A new 3d animated film from Disney but is this really a Disney film?

"Wreck-It Ralph is the 9-foot-tall, 643-pound villain of an arcade video game named Fix-It Felix Jr., in which the game's titular hero fixes buildings that Ralph destroys. For thirty years, Ralph has been doing the same job over and over and has become tired of being the bad guy. Wanting to prove he can be a good guy and not just a villain, Ralph escapes his game through the power cord and lands in Hero's Duty, a first-person shooter where he helps the game's hero, Sergeant Calhoun, battle against "Cy-Bugs", the game's alien invaders. He later enters Sugar Rush, a kart racing game set on tracks made of candies, cookies and other sweets. There, Ralph meets Vanellope von Schweetz, one of the game's characters, who has learned that her game is faced with a dire threat that could affect the entire arcade, and one that Ralph may have inadvertently started"

more details and opinions after the jump

The film is directed by Rich Moore a veteran animation director from Simpsons and Futurama and it feels like a story based off popular internet cartoons and memes. I think the director is a good choice for this and the voice cast of John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch and Sarah Silverman is pretty good but there's something off about it having non original characters in a Disney movie.

Then again the last few Disney movies have been cardboard cut outs of previous Disney films and they honestly haven't done that well. So they really did need to take some chances and try something new but it's hard to see the internet leaking into a Disney world.

 I thought Tangled was a really great return to form and it felt like a magical Disney film. It did help having Glenn Keane a veteran Disney animator drawing into the 3d animation and bringing in that 2d feel to the animation (see here what I mean), but he was kicked off Tangled before it finished and he has recently quit Disney. I think this is a great loss for Disney as I really think he captured what Disney was, what worked.

Anyway I don't hate this. Nothing makes me smile more than seeing Bison in a Disney movie (live action Bison is my favourite Bison). It is borrowing its set up a bit from Pixars "Toy story" and that might be a good idea and might work for them. I do think if they are going to make this sort of film what works with the internet cartoons about videogames is speed of jokes and extreme reactions which aren't Disney strong points (Emperors New Groove being the exception) but Rich Moore's experience with Simpsons and Futurama could carry them over the line.

The big question is will kids enjoy it? I think the sell would be that the fathers of kids who are now aged gamers will bring their kids along and be happily telling their kids about what each character is from ("that's a Q-bert son") but I wonder if mothers would bring their kids along. Heading into dangerous generalisation here, but video games (although trying to change) are a sausagefest. In the trailer they almost have to add in and create female characters and I wonder how they are going to edit around and make family the skimpy outfits most female characters wear. The last 2 Disney films (Tangled and Princess and the Frog) were slanted towards their female audience so maybe it is ok for them to make a cartoon for the boys but will it hurt box office sales.

I'm really not sure if this film will work but I am looking forward to seeing this movie for the jokes and the old video game cameos and seeing if this new more modern Disney is a good move.

1 comment:

  1. I'm really interested in this! I didn't realise until the other day that they were going to use a ton of licensed characters, Roger Rabbit style. That makes it far more exciting for me.

    I think through retro games on iphones etc that most kids have a sense of the history and will be interested in this kind of thing. I think they have a surprising interest/respect for the past.