Ralph to the Rescue!

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures
October 18th, 2012

Ralph to the Rescue

-- "Wreck-It Ralph" is among the latest in the stable of animated films to be released by Walt Disney Animation Studios. The 3-D computer-animated movie is director Rich Moore's film debut, but Moore is not a novice to working behind the camera. He has also directed episodes of "The Simpsons" and "Futurama." The movie will include the voices of Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch, John C. Reilly, and Jack McBrayer. "Wreck-It Ralph" tells the story of an arcade-game villain who decides to become a good guy. The film will be released on November 2, 2012.

One of the most unique elements of this film is that three distinctive visual styles will be utilized to represent the gaming worlds of a first-person shooter game, an eight-bit game, and a kart-racing game. Reilly provides the voice for the character Wreck-It Ralph, who has been destroying a building in his game world for more than thirty years, and he has grown tired of this seemingly endless task. Desiring to prove that he can change and be a good guy, Ralph escapes his gaming world via its power cord. He ultimately lands in a shooter game and works alongside Sergeant Calhoun to battle alien invaders. Later, he enters the world of a kart-racing game constructed of sweets and encounters Vanellope von Schweetz. Ralph is stunned to learn that Vanellope and her world are faced with a threat that could impact the entire arcade. Even worse, it is a threat that Ralph might be responsible for starting.

"Wreck-It Ralph" originally went by the working title of "Joe Jump." It has been in the works in a variety of different forms for several years and at one point had been titled "Reboot Ralph." The film is not unlike "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" in that a number of cameo appearances from licensed video game characters will be featured in the film. In one scene, Ralph will be shown attending a support group for villainous video game characters. The group will include Doctor Eggman, Bowser, and the orange Pac-Man ghost, Clyde. Director Rich Moore was determined to make the film feel completely authentic, and that included featuring real characters from real video games.

Prior to the film entering production, the creative team added characters to the storyline in places where they could believably appear even though legal use had not yet been obtained. The company later sought out permission from the copyright holders to use these characters legally. Disney also collaborated with copyright holders to ensure that the characters represented in the film were portrayed in an authentic manner. The licensing fee did prove to be too high in at least one instance, and the film's creative team was not able to include Luigi and Mario due to the high fee requested by Nintendo. In total, there are still approximately 188 different character models in the film as a result of the inclusions of cameos. Henry Jackman composed the score for the film. The movie's soundtrack will include original songs by Owl City, Skrillex, and Buckner & Garcia.

Originally, the film was scheduled to be released on March 22, 2013, but the release date was later moved up because the film was ahead of its production schedule. The first trailer for the film was released in June of 2012 during the debuts of "Rock of Ages" and "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted." A second trailer followed in September to coincide with the 3-D release of "Finding Nemo."

The film's debut trailer coincided with the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo. A mock arcade cabinet was used to promote the film during this convention. In addition, Disney released an iOS and browser-based Flash-based versions of one of the games included in the film. Plans are underway for a release of online versions of other games featured in the film. A tie-in game inspired by the film will also be released on Nintendo 3DS, Wii, and Nintendo DS. This game is the result of collaboration between Activision and Disney Interactive and will actually serve as an extension of the film's story. Players can choose to play as either Fix-It Felix or Wreck-It Ralph. The games will be released at the same time the film hits theaters. Gamers will also be able to choose to play as Ralph in a new Sega game.

Each subsequent trailer released for the film demonstrates that "Wreck-It Ralph" appears to have the right blend of video game culture, sterling voice talent, and chart-topping music to make it an instant hit.