is an aging video game bad guy who, after 30 years being forced to make trouble for the hero of the Fix-It Felix Jr.
arcade game, breaks free and goes on a journey across the arcade through a host of new games.
After years of lacklustre features, Disney
caught a second wind in the early 90s with a slew of critical and commercial features, including The Lion King
and Beauty and the Beast
. But as sub-studio Pixar’s
star rose in the wake of Toy Story
in 1994, Disney
saw their own decline through less memorable efforts like Atlantis
. They misfired on their transition to CG as well – do you even remember Chicken Little
After a successful return to traditional animation with The Princess and the Frog
and a CG success of sorts in Tangled
is on the crest of a new wave of top notch titles, possibly buoyed up by the absorption of Pixar
staff into several key roles. And their latest feature bears all the hallmarks of increased collaboration between the two companies.Wreck-It Ralph
has a sublime set up – an arcade game indebted to real titles of yesteryear, a misunderstood protagonist and a cornucopia of visually exciting locations to explore. The trailer shows Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly
) heading to a support group for bad guys, which features cameos from real licensed characters from games like Pac
, Street Fighter
, Super Mario Bros
and more. It’s clever and self aware while also managing to be accessible to those who care nothing for the history of video games.
First time director Rich Moore
is behind Wreck-It Ralph and while his feature resume may be slim, he’s been working behind the scenes on animated shows for years, and picked up a pair of Primetime Emmys for Futurama
and The Simpsons
. He’s also worked on The SimpsonsMovie
and makes his move into blockbusters with a script from Phil Johnston
, who wrote last years Cedar Rapids
.John C. Reilly
is perfect casting for Ralph, downtrodden but possessed of an unfailing politeness despite his lumbering size. He’s joined chiefly by comedienne Sarah Silverman
as the voice of young Vanellope – whose game is put in jeopardy by Ralph’s actions. She seems annoying, which is probably on purpose. You’ll also find TV types Jane Lynch
) and Jack McBrayer
) on board.
With its interesting premise, solid cast and a range of stunning visual styles (in 3D, of course) Wreck-It Ralph
has a huge amount of potential, giving Disney
a lift into a more well rounded slice of entertainment that could even rival Pixar’s
efforts. Let’s hope that potential holds true when it arrives in theatres in November.