Immersed in Blu-ray Wreck-It Ralph

The Oscar-nominated Wreck-It Ralph comes to Blu-ray this week in a combo pack from Disney Home Ent. Rich Moore joyfully takes the animation giant to a new place and it looks absolutely stunning in the home theater while the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is as dynamic as it gets.

Wreck-It Ralph both embraces and subverts the Disney ethos. Credit John Lasseter for trying such an ambitious experiment and for entrusting fellow CalArts alum, Moore, a TV refugee from The Simpsons and Futurama, to pull it off. The result is similar to what Brad Bird did at Pixar with The Incredibles and just as personal. How to break free from a successful rut?

But aside from crafting a dazzling videogame universe with three distinct worlds (the 8-bit Nicelanders of Fix-It Felix Jr., the photoreal first-person shooter, Hero’s Duty, and the Candy Land-inspired Sugar Rush), Moore has made a smart and heart-warming tale of two social misfits (the hulk-like baddie, Ralph, and the snarky little Vanellope) banding together to reboot their lives and save their universe from a Cy-Bug invasion.

Moore’s a hand-drawn guy who’s taken to CG with warmth and affection. But, stylistically, he’s infused CG with a 2D aesthetic that’s fresh and funny. What’s old is new again. One look at Felix and King Candy and you immediately sense the influence of Ward Kimball. Indeed, King Candy is an obvious homage to The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. Production designer Mike Gabriel has infused all the worlds with the Disney DNA.

“What I like about this is that it’s of the same mind with my taste,” Moore suggests. “Dumbo, The Jungle Book, Toy Story, Tangled. There’s something [primal] about the DNA of those movies that goes way, way back to something that we don’t even know. And I like when entertainment taps into that and the feeling that it gives me. When we can make these movies, I really believe that there’s a wavelength: emotions being manipulated and senses being delighted. And I like that sense of doing something familiar but that’s new, that pays respect to the legacy and to the storytelling and heart of Disney. But has the room to let it be its own thing.”

Bonus features include deleted scenes (see below) and  “Bit By Bit: Creating the Worlds of Wreck-It Ralph.” But the highlight is the innovative, Oscar-winning black and white Paperman short by John Kahrs, which also infuses CG with a 2D aesthetic, thanks to an ingenious interface that does digital in-betweening and motion tracking. The graphic power of the line is retained and adds greater warmth to the eyes and mouth in this sweet romantic tale of chance encounters.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Blu-ray, Clips, Movies, Oscar, Production Design, Shorts, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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