For decades, Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) has been overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer), the good-guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. Tired of playing the role of a bad guy, Ralph takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a journey across the arcade through multiple generations of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.
On his quest, Ralph meets tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty, and feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) from the candy-coated cart-racing game Sugar Rush, who may just be his first real friend. But everything changes when a deadly enemy is unleashed, threatening the entire arcade and Vanellope herself. Ralph finally gets his chance to save the day—but can he do it in time?
When Rich Moore joined Walt Disney Animation Studios and began developing “Wreck-It Ralph,” he had a big problem. “Arcade-game characters have no free will,” he says. “They’re programmed to do one thing day in and day out—they don’t have a choice in the matter. I thought, ‘That’s boring.’”
Or is it?
“I realized it’s actually a great conflict,” says the director. “Within this world, there are strict rules: you do one job and one job only. What if there was a character who didn’t like his job?”
At nine feet tall and 643 pounds, Ralph is certainly a force to be… well, wreck-oned with. He’s a massive guy charged with wrecking the apartment building in a place called Niceland. Much to Ralph’s dismay, a spry sport named Fix-It Felix Jr. is called on to fix the building and save the day with his magic hammer, earning cheers, accolades and a fancy gold medal from the Nicelanders.
“Ralph is the bad guy in an old 1980s arcade game who’s wondering—after 30 years of playing his assigned role—‘Is this it?’” says Moore. “So, like a lot of us, he tries to solve an internal problem with an external solution: he’s going to try to win a medal—if he could win just one, he thinks he’ll earn the kind of love and respect Felix gets.”
“So Ralph embarks on this journey across the arcade to try to earn that medal,” says producer Clark Spencer. “Of course, the real journey is for him—and everyone else—to realize that while he’s programmed to be one thing, it doesn’t mean that’s what he is on the inside.”
Ralph’s quest will take him from his home in the game Fix-It Felix Jr. into the vast worlds the arcade has to offer. “We jump from Ralph’s very simple 8-bit world to Hero’s Duty,” says Spencer. “Hero’s Duty is a modern, first-person shooter game—it’s brand new, the best game in the arcade, the most advanced game out there. In this game, Sergeant Calhoun heads up a platoon of soldiers fighting off Cy-Bugs that are annihilating the universe. It’s very intense.”
His efforts going awry, Ralph finds himself jetting from the tough world of Hero’s Duty to something a little sweeter—literally. “Sugar Rush is a 1990s cart-racing game set in a world that’s made entirely out of candy,” says Moore. “So this world is more whimsical. It’s got a classic Disney feel mixed with an anime influence.”
“But while it has a sweet veneer,” adds Spencer, “there’s a dark side to Sugar Rush.”
“A good movie makes the audience feel like they’ve journeyed with the characters,” says Moore. “I think the audience will expect comedy and action. They’ll expect the state-of-the-art animation and spectacle that still blows me away. But I think they’ll be surprised by how much heart the movie has and how much they’re going to love these characters.”
Opening across the Philippines in Nov. 01 in Disney Digital 3D and regular theaters, “Wreck-It Ralph” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.
Watch the trailer here: