Welcome to the Disney Revival Rundown! This week, we at Rotoscopers are analyzing some of the most recent Disney animated films, and what makes each one so great. At the end of the series, we will have a fan vote to determine which is the best of them all!
To me, Wreck-It Ralph is probably one of Disney’s biggest surprises over the last few years. The film was Disney’s first non-fairytale CG film that convinced me that Disney was capable of telling a great original story not based off a fairytale and opened the door to many more risky projects like Big Hero 6 and Zootopia.
”I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”
Wreck-It Ralph is one of those Disney films that has been in development for quite some time before it eventually hit the big screen in 2012. The concept for the film was originally developed in the late 80s. It didn’t work out and over the years Disney reworked the story several times. In the 90s the film was called Joe Jump and in the mid 2000s it took the working title Reboot Ralph. But, when director Rich Moore (The Simpsons, Futurama) and screenwriter Jennifer Lee (Frozen) joined the team the film really started to come together to become the movie we all know and love today. While all the old versions of the film were completely different from one another, it looks like Wreck-It Ralph was the most interesting story out of the bunch.
While Wreck-It Ralph isn’t the first non-fairytale Disney film in our Disney Revival Rundown series, it’s probably the film that stands out most next to Meet the Robinson and Bolt. The film manages to tell an incredibly fun and original story in a rather clever way. And even though the concept is very similar to Pixar’s Toy Story, Disney managed to give their own spin on the concept and make it work. Another strength of this film is that it appeals to many target audiences. It doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl, if you’re 9 or 55 years old, if you’re a big gamer or if you haven’t played a game in years, this film has characters that will appeal to different kinds of people and has a story that will connect with different people in many different ways.
The film has a great set of characters and amazing group of voice actors. Because most of the voice actors are comedians they got to do a lot of improvisation in group recording sessions, which led to a lot of fantastic improvised lines. The voices fit the characters amazingly and the main characters look like they were designed after their voice actors. By having a character like Ralph and Vanelloppe as friends and Felix and Calhoun as a couple, Disney created some interesting dynamics that we hadn’t really seen before in a Disney film.
Something else that makes Wreck-It Ralph so great is its incredible production design and animation. I have to admit that many Disney films over the last few years had quite a fantastic art direction, but once again Wreck-it Ralph stands out. For this film they had to create four completely different worlds that looked and felt unique from one another, as opposed to designing one world that looked and felt believable. The amazing crew behind the film managed to design characters that all looked like they came from their respective worlds, from the angular and cartoony looking Ralph to the hyper-realistic looking Sergeant Calhoun. By assigning different art directors to each world, they incorporated different design styles and ideas into the different worlds. The animators also managed to create different movement for each and every character. The Nicelanders move very blocky, like they would in a 8-bit game from 30 years ago, and the soldiers in Hero’s Duty move as realistically as they would in a modern first person shooter game.
The clever thing about Wreck-It Ralph is that it has tons of game cameos and the main games in the film, Fix-It Felix Jr., Hero’s Duty, and Sugar Rush, are based off actual real life games but they don’t actually use real game characters and worlds as the main setting of the film. By introducing the new characters, fans of the actual games don’t get upset about how the characters they love are portrayed in this film, but rather enjoy a fun film about new characters featuring cameos from the game characters they love. By using some existing games in the film, we also got some other clever moments, like Ralph going to Tappers to get a drink after an exhausting day of work and the Bad-Anon meeting held inside the little Pac-Man room.
Despite being a very risky project, Wreck-It Ralph managed to become a huge success. The film made $471,222,889 in the worldwide box office and critics loved it. The film was also nominated for an Academy Award, but lost it to Pixar’s Brave which disappointed a lot of fans of the film.
In various interviews, Rich Moore has revealed that he is interested in doing a Wreck-It Ralph sequel. He discussed possible story lines and game characters that could make a cameos in the sequel. Moore revealed that he is interested in exploring online gaming in a possible sequel and that he would love to have the characters Mario and Tron make cameos in the sequel. According to several sources the sequel’s story is currently being developed.
As much as I love Wreck-It Ralph, a sequel just isn’t necessary. Every time I watch the film, I leave satisfied and happy and I’ve never really felt the need for more adventures with these characters. All the characters are very well developed and I would prefer to see Disney brings us films with new stories and characters rather than rehashing films that were perfect already.
Wreck-It Ralph is probably the most unique, original, and fun film Disney released in the last few years. The film turned out to be a huge success thanks to its great characters, clever story, and fun cameos. It is one of the films that opened the door to more risky projects like last year’s Big Hero 6 and the upcoming Zootopia. This is the film that convinced many people that Disney could do more than just great fairytale musicals, the film that truly convinced me that Disney Animation is back, and the film that made me very excited to see what the future will bring for the Walt Disney Animation Studios.
What do you think of Wreck-it Ralph? Why do you think this film worked so well?
Max is an animation addict from The Netherlands. His favorite animated movies are Beauty and the Beast and Ratatouille, and he is a big fan of everything Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks related. He loves reading and collecting art books and one day he hopes to work for a major animation studio. Follow his art blog: http://maxdenhartog.tumblr.com