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.