Right before I jetted off to BlogHer, I was invited to Walt Disney Studios right down the way from me to get a very first look into the world of Wreck It Ralph. Jealous? Well you should be!
Wreck It Ralph is the story of Ralph, the villain in the fictional arcade video game, Fix It Felix. He has been doing the same job, wrecking the Nicelanders apartment building and watching Felix, fix it and get a medal every day for the past thirty years and decides that’s not what he wants to be anymore. He sets off to prove he is more than just a bad guy by heading to Hero’s Duty to win a medal. Realizing games are no longer the way he remembered them, he wins his medal and heads back to Niceland. Along his way back home, he finds himself in Sugar Rush where we meet Venallope Von Schweetz who steals his medal and the two form a bond as he helps her win a race in order to get his medal back.
We got a hands on look at about 30 mins of scattered footage, and if that is any indicator, this film is going to be awesome. I also had a just to talk to Director Rich Moore and Producer Clark Spencer. Moore stated that the original plot was actually going to be based on the Felix character but he felt it was too boring. With Ralph, he said, we can see that dramatic arch that a character must go through. One thing I learned that was surprising was how the cast (John C. Reilly-Ralph, Sarah Silverman- Venallope Von Schweetz, Jane Lynch- Sgt. Calhoun and Jack McBrayer- Felix) insisted on scheduling time in the studio to work together and improvise/feed off each other. In animation, this is almost unheard of because of the way a film is put together and the scattered schedules. But this cast asked for it, and Moore and Spencer made it happen. It resulted in some great scenes and added things to the character that the actors brought to life.
I also got a chance to talk to the visual development team and learned the many different things that inspired the five different worlds in the movie. You wouldn’t think that the hardest for them not only to animate but conceptualize would be the 8-bit world of Fix It Felix. But it was! The team is used to thinking in Disney terms which is how to make it more real and move forward. With Ralph’s world, everything was in block format with no crazy colors or shapes. Even getting the Nicelanders to move as if they actually were an 8-bit game was a challenge. While that world was a challenge, the world of Sugar Rush allowed the team to venture and explore the style of the Harajuku girls of Japan and the architecture of Spain’s works of Gaudi, while giving it a candy land feel. But not your typical ginger bread houses…no, no. These animators had to go to Candy conventions and explored Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo biggest candy store for candies and treats that inspired the many colors, textures and shapes of Sugar Rush.
We also got a treat by getting a full screening of the short being shown right before Wreck It Ralph, Paperman.
First time Director John Kars introduced the short as a an idea he toyed with while living in New York city. That moment when two people’s paths meet for a tiny minute and a connection sparks, only to be gone within seconds. It’s the story of what happens when you decide to change your destiny. The animation is stellar, the perfect blending of 2D meeting CG to bring the characters to life. I cannot wait to be able to see this again in November.
Also, talk about a sneak peek! We got a glimpse into the world of “Frozen” which is to be Disney’s November 2013 animated release. It is based on Hans Christian Anderson’s ” The Snow Queen” fairy tale. It not only has TWO princesses, played by Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell… and yes, it’s a musical! (Did you just hear me squeal? Yup- you did!) We were able to see some photos of the beautiful scenery from Norway that will be the source of inspiration for the creative team behind Frozen…and if that is any indicator whatsoever, hang out to your seats…but not for like, another 15-16 months.
Wreck It Ralph and Paperman are coming to theaters on November 2, 2012.
Disclosure: I attended a press day for an exclusive sneak peek into the above named productions. No compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.