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still from wreck-it ralph Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) sets off on a quest to prove he can be a hero. His journey begins at Game Central Station, an industrial power strip that connects every game in the arcade. (Photo: ©Disney. All Rights Reserved.)

Wreck-It Ralph Smashes Into Theaters!

New Disney animated movie goes inside video games

By Damien Murphy | November 2 , 2012

A few months ago, the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps was invited to the Disney Animation Studio in Burbank, California, to go behind the scenes of the new movie Wreck-It Ralph. The movie opens in theaters today and takes viewers inside the world of video games.

When you first entered the studio, it was hard to miss all the art on the walls. They were lined with stills from the movie and illustrations of the characters. They were so colorful and fun. They all but popped out at you!

There were also 3D, life-size figures of the characters from the movie, including the star of the movie, Wreck-It Ralph. Ralph is the bad guy in an old-school video game called Fix-It Felix, Jr. The goal of the game is to help Felix an apartment building while Ralph smashes it to pieces. But in the movie, Ralph decides he doesn't want to be the bad guy anymore. He wants to be a hero. So he jumps into different video games trying to change his fate.

In the game Sugar Rush (think Candyland meets Super Mario Kart), Ralph meets Vanillope. Vanillope is a game glitch who never got to fit in with the rest of the video game. Together, they go on a mission traveling the different game worlds in search of a better meaning in life for themselves.

At the studio, life-size displays of the different video game world were around every corner. One of the coolest was the one from Sugar Rush. There were candy houses and villages made of frosting, cookies, gumdrops, sprinkles, and sugar rocks. It was mouth-watering!

But around the next corner was an arcade! It had all the old video games my mom grew up with and that inspired the animators, writers, and director of Wreck-It Ralph. As I looked around, I saw it: A real-life old-time arcade game of Fix-It Felix, Jr.! Playing the game was like playing a combination of Super Mario Bros. and Space Invaders. It was a hard game, but fun!

Once we took in all these sights, we went into a screening room for an early peak at Wreck-It Ralph. It's an eye-catching and colorful movie, fill of characters from so many old-school, modern, and brand new video games.

The amount of research put into the making of this movie is incredible. For Sugar Rush, for example, the filmmakers traveled to the German International Candy Faire to see all the candies of the world. This let them come up with a lot of very cool designs. And in the movie you will see candies from Japan to Italy to Holland. They also went to Barcelona, Spain, to explore a life-size, candy-decorated village to give them inspiration and ideas of how they could design the Sugar Rush world.

But the detail in the movie goes beyond how characters and worlds were designed. Each frame of the movie required many layers of animation and a lot of different people working together to make it all work. Creating Wreck-It Ralph was a definite team effort with ideas, dreams, and a lot of hard. But it seemed like they had a lot of fun, too.

For director Rich Moore, bringing Wreck-It Ralph to movie theaters is the end of a long journey that began when he was a kid.

"I thought it would be interesting to have the setting in a classic '80s 8-bit arcade game like when I was young," Moore told me. And here he is today, making his dream a reality! (He has directed other popular shows too, like The Simpsons and Futurama.)

Zach Parrish, the supervising animator, told me his job on the movie was to lead the animators in creating different sequences in the movie. It sounds like a fun job, so I wondered what kids like me have to do to have a job like that.
 
"If you want to animate and make movies, keep trying, keep playing, have fun, play lots of video games, be smart, draw, just don't lose your imagination," Parrish said.

"Play lots of video games?" I really like that answer!

Earlier this week, Kid Reporter Damien Murphy interviewed Stephanie Scott, one of the stars of Wreck-It Ralph. She gives voice to Moppet Girl, the character playing all the video games in the movie. Watch Damien's interview with her on the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps Blog!

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