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Immersed in Movies: Previewing Disney's Animated 'Wreck-It Ralph'

Photo of Bill Desowitz By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood August 2, 2012 at 3:03PM

I got a 25-minute glimpse this week of Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph," the wacky comedy that takes place inside the world of video games coming November 2. Funny and inventive with enough iconic cameos to put a smile on the face of gamers, it's more "Alice in Wonderland" than "Tron"...
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Wreck-It Ralph
Wreck-It Ralph

I got a 25-minute glimpse this week of "Wreck-It Ralph," Disney's wacky animated comedy that takes place inside the world of video games (November 2). Funny and inventive with enough iconic cameos to put a smile on the face of gamers, it's more "Alice in Wonderland" than "Tron."

In fact, it's clear that Disney's finally found its creative voice under John Lasseter after wandering in the woods. They've leveraged the success of "Tangled" by continuing to merge CG and hand-drawn animation into a new hybrid. (The new black and white "Paperman" short has gone even further in seamlessly blending the two techniques with a breakthrough interface.)

And just as Brad Bird shook up Pixar with "The Incredibles," Rich Moore has done the same as a newcomer to Disney from TV ("The Simpsons" and "Futurama"). Although he tried to pitch his own ideas, fellow CalArts alum Lasseter instead convinced him to helm "Ralph" as something fresh yet familiar.

The move's a mash-up of different animation styles -- both cartoony and hyper real -- set within three distinct video game worlds. But it's wrapped around a hulking character, Ralph (John C. Reilly), with an existential crisis. As the villain from the "Fix-It Felix Jr." 8-bit arcade game, he's tired of 30 years of repetitive programming and longs to be the hero. So Ralph decides to hop games and win a medal in the gritty first-person shooter, "Hero's Duty," only to crash-land in the Candy Land-inspired "Sugar Rush," where he's forced to team up with a wise-cracking misfit, Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), with her own self-esteem issues.

This article is related to: Immersed In Movies, Animation, Interviews, Interviews, Walt Disney Pictures


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.