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Entries in Wreck-It Ralph (6)

Monday
Feb182013

Interview: Rich Moore on His Long Journey With "Wreck-It Ralph"

The Animated Feature Oscar race has been unusually competitive this year. In the final week of voting (ballots are due tomorrow) FYC ads and toys were still showing up in the mail. Which to play with first: Brave bow and arrows, Frankenweenie stuffed animal, or Wreck-It Ralph hands? That is the question. When I spoke with Rich Moore, a long time animation force who made his theatrical directing debut with Wreck-It Ralph, a few weeks back he was very contemplative. Awards season has been a "surreal" experience especially nomination morning.

You hope that they will but when they really do... it was fantastic!"
-Rich Moore on the surreal joy of Nomination Morning 

Moore never quite equated his own story with that of Wreck-It Ralph's but I couldn't help projecting and connecting the dots when he told his story. There was a sturdy sweetness to it, not unlike Ralph's own, as he repeatedly expressed loyalty and gratitude for each of his past projects and opportunities. After graduating from CalArts in the late 80s he went to work for 70s animation legend Ralph Bakshi on The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse -- which might not seem like a prime gig to us in retrospect but back then it was. "Those days there were not a lot of jobs for young animators," he explained.

"We were very very lucky to be hired onto that show by Ralph. Several of the people, my friends went on to form Pixar. [Bakshi] opened our eyes. If you could dream it it could happen because we would see Ralph do that on a daily basis. He is so passionate. And so crazy!" 

After his time with Bakshi he found himself at work on The Simpsons. And the experience still sounds shockingly fresh to hear him recall it. "I was 25 years old and somehow had the wherewithal to recognize that it was the chance of a lifetime - 'If I do not give this everything I've got I will not be able to live with myself.' It was gold."

He went on to marvel at how "antiquated" the idea was at the time -- it hadn't been done since The Jetsons. And I kept thinking of Wreck-It Ralph... an 8 bit game in a whole new world. Throughout his experiences with The Simpsons and then Futurama his CalArts friends who founded Pixar kept trying to woo him over. Finally the 'annual call' worked and he did some soul searching and stopped resisting, said a tough goodbye to one animation family for his original one. 

But, I wondered. How long had the Wreck-It Ralph idea been with him and how possessive did he feel about it animation being a hugely collaborative process and not exactly an auteurist medium. 

He calls it a "fine line to walk." Your precious idea, you have to let go and allow others to raise the child as strong as it can be. Here's how it worked. Moore pitched an idea for a story about a world of videogames where an old school character (then unnamed) had lost his passion for his work, and wonders about his station in life. "It began pretty much that simply," he explains. From there it shifted into a two person project for a year with he and screenwriter Phil Johnston. "From there it just begins to grow exponentially. You add more and more people to the mix. Last September there were up to 450 people - artistis, technicians, managers -- working on something that started as a pitch between John Lasseter and I four years ago."

Moore is suddenly contemplative and sounds a little sad. "To be the guy who walks through the whole thing from beginning to end is an interesting seat to have. When people talk about 'oh, it's journey'. It really is. it's a strange kind of trip you take. I find myself now at the end very reflective about the whole thing and appreciative to have been able to bring to Disney my contribution to this long line of films they've been making since the '30s. It's a very kind of profound feeling." 

As to that long line of films, Moore names Dumbo and Pinnocchio as his favorites from animation's early years and Toy Story 2 and The Iron Giant as his modern favorites. But as for his contribution -- he isn't quite ready to put Wreck-It Ralph behind him. He has dreams of a sequel and there's still Oscar night to get through. 

"I hated Christmas or Halloween to be over. oh no it's going to be done," Moore says recalling himself as a child. "I hate to let it go. That's where my head is right now. The 11th hour on Christmas day. You hate to see it come to a close but it's been a beautiful experience. It was so satisfying."

more on animated films
more interview 

Monday
Feb042013

Link Bowl

AP the inventor of Etch-a-Sketch has died. If I still had one still, i would draw you the saddest frown right now. Unhappy about this!
YouTube "Upside Downton Abbey" via Sesame Street
Playbill interviews Sebastian Stan who has now made a name for himself on all three actors mediums: film, tv, and stage (with Picnic, previously discussed)
BuzzFeed why The Amazing Spider-Man sequel will prove to be a bizarro version of Spider-Man 3 


Comics Alliance this made me lol'an extensive discussion of Batman punching animals'
Salon Richard Kramer remembers his mentor Pauline Kael
/Film Matthew Modine has had his diaries from Full Metal Jacket made into an iPad App. Great idea.
Carpetbagger Wreck-It Ralph scores at the Annie Awards
Empire Johnny Depp might finally play a non cartoon again. He could attend Black Mass, a true story crime drama, with Barry Levinson directing. He's done this genre before to varying but mostly positive results (Public Enemies, Donnie Brasco

Awards Daily on the conjoined fall & rise of Zero Dark Thirty and Argo
The New Yorker nominated The Paperboy for future camp classic now that it's on DVD "where it belongs"
Jeremy Helligar on why Joaquin Phoenix should win the Oscar instead of Day Lewis. Love this bit... 

Quell was a mix of standout characteristics of at least three of the characters played by Phoenix's Best Actor Oscar competition, a drunk like Washington's Whip Whitaker, cuckoo like Cooper's Pat Solitano (though hardly recovering) and criminal like Jackman's Jean Valjean (again, hardly reformed). If The Master had been set 100 years earlier, circa 1850, I have no doubt that Freddie would have wanted to free the slaves, too.

Do you have any impossible dream of Daniel's third going to someone else?

Thursday
Nov082012

Dr. Link

Columbia Journalism Review looks back at a watershed moment in celebrity profiles: Truman Capote meets Marlon Brando
The Film Doctor thinks Wreck-It Ralph is more corporate brainwashing for profit
Movieline Brad Pitt turns furniture designer. Unfortunately you can't see the show which is in New York next week if you're not in the design industry -- I looked it up after treading this; private appointments only 
Awards Daily Soundworks profiles Flight. How many Oscar noms will that film win? 
Studio Briefing Daniel Craig's "get me outta this" feelings for Bond since day one -- I'm amused by how seriously people are taking these comments. Please, it's not like he's going to quit just yet.

My New Plaid Pants a double o version of Do Dump or Marry shook and stirred me. So hard to answer!
Coming Soon It seems like Channing Tatum has as many movies coming out next year as he did this year! New pics from White House Down 
Cinema Blend the last star-laden version of Les Misérables, which was stupidly not the musical at the time,  comes to DVD in time for Christmas. Remember that one? Uma Thurman is Fantine and Liam Neeson is Jean Valjean
Family Room Gary Ross not at all sad that he walked away from The Hunger Games
/Film the beloved (but sometimes reviled) indie comic hit Elfquest from the 70s and 80s is still trying to become a movie. Fans who made a short film type trailer are hoping to be the ones to accomplish it. I'm a bit confused by their short though since it only features the female elves. It has to be a measure of Elfquest's impact that I recognized every single character... and not like distant memories either.

Today's Watch...
Well, if you have a couple of hours to spare that is...

Good concept though. They've linked up the Bond films chronologically, and then used roughly five minutes of film from each in sequential order to create a FrankenBond movie.

Wednesday
Nov072012

Tarzan, Lord of the Links

TMZ Carrie Fisher 'damn right she wants to be in Star Wars Episode VII'
Pajiba '11 Heir Apparent Brit Actors to Hugh Grant's Hair.' Hee
Vanity Fair photographs Olivia Munn! (Q: Wasn't she superb in Magic Mike? A: Yes) 
i09 Jeff Bridges was always going to play The Giver. He finally has a director. Maybe. 
Awards Circuit likes Lionsgate's chances in two of the lead acting categories 

The Envelope Skyfall would like a Best Picture nomination, please
All Things Twitter killed the fail whale on election night
Towleroad Barack Obama's election night tweet becomes the most popular tweet of all time
Joe Pitt is sharing concept art from Wreck-It Ralph. You can see the evolution of the new hit character
Hollywood.com celebrates Movember with dos and don't of the moustache via celebrity photos. The only time I've ever done a 'stache was for a Halloween costume and my god it was a terrible look for me! Never again.
BuzzFeed pays tribute to the fallen on Walking Dead (spoilers). I stopped watching the show halfway through Season 2 (exactly like Season 1 only slower!) but people seem to like Season 3 
HitFix thinks that Flight is now a legit Oscar contender. It's not just for Best Actor anymore... 
The Broadway Blog looks at the reviews for The Heiress on Broadway starring Jessica Chastain 

 

Finally, Warner Bros still wants to reboot the once very lucrative Tarzan franchise... and David Yates (who directed the last half of the Harry Potter franchise) is their man for the job. I'd caution them that maybe today's moviegoers don't care about Tarzan. I know personally that everytime I try to generate interest in Tarzan (I have a soft spot for those movies) comments seem to vanish. The last time anybody got seriously excited about Tarzan, in my recollection, was Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan Lord of the Apes -- the only "prestige" Tarzan to date -- and that was nearly 30 years ago. Sure the Disney version in 1999 was a hit but it also was the fumes at the tail end of Disney's second Golden Age and Disney animated features have never been quite the same afterwards. They're already talking about name actors but if you ask me they'd be crazy not to go with an unknown. Tarzan the character is, by nature, a discovery. 

Sunday
Nov042012

Box Office: Wreck-It, Denzel!

A very strong weekend after a quiet one. Wreck-It Ralph's big showing isn't a surprise given the track record of noisy colorful animated films for kids (i.e. they always open big) and its use of nostalgic characters  to hook parents. Denzel Washington, one of the last true movie stars, can also be counted on for strong openings and Flight is no exception. What did you see this weekend?

Box Office Top Ten
01 WRECK-IT RALPH  $49.1 *NEW* 
02 FLIGHT $25 *NEW* 
03 ARGO  $10.2 (cum. $75.8)
04 MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS $8.2 *NEW* 
05 TAKEN 2  $6  (cum. $125.6)
06 CLOUD ATLAS $5.2 (cum $18.2)
07 HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA $4.5 (cum $137.5)
08 PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 $4.3  (cum $49.5)
09 HERE COMES THE BOOM $3.6 (cum $35.5)
10 SILENT HILL REVELATION $3.3 (cum $13.9)

I saw Flight on Friday night in a crowded theater (review tomorrow) and though the audience seemed to be with it the whole time -- reacting big in all the key places -- as I was leaving I overheard the following conversation between two 20something girls.

OVERHEARD

Girl #1: That was not at all what I was expecting.
Girl #2: I know. It was... [unconvinced] good. I think I need a little more feel-good in my movies.

Curious comment since Flight works overtime and some would say inelegantly in its finale to hurdle its feel-bad problem. But, then again, they have been marketing it with the crash and Denzel's ace flying that's only the beginning of the movie so maybe the audience was expecting something more action-packed and heroic? 

Speaking of heroic feats: Ben Affleck's Argo is losing so little of its audience from week to week that he'll totally have his first $100 million blockbuster soon (The Town came close). And all that from a "prestige" movie, too. His ascendance is nearly complete. All that's left on the road to being a wildly overrated filmmaker (he's good don't get me wrong) is another Oscar. Do you think he'll win it?

Saturday
Jul282012

Two Animated Films I'm Excited About (Will Oscar Be, Too?)

This year I had made a silent goal to myself to talk about animated films more often at The Film Experience since I sometimes really enjoy them even if I don't say so and you definitely enjoy them but we tend to not cover them. So far so getting better. Here are two films I'm looking forward to that I didn't even realize I was excited for because I almost forgot they existed.

1. Me and My Shadow (2014) 
This upcoming effort released a teaser poster a few days ago and has a cute concept. It will reportedly be a blending of traditional animation and CG animation with the traditional being the shadow world and the CG being for the "real" world. From the official synopsis...

Stan (Bill Hader), our hero's shadow, yearns for a more exciting life but happens to be stuck with Stanley Grubb (Josh Gad), a timid guy with an extreme aversion to adventure. When a crime in the shadow world puts both of their lives in danger, Stan is forced to take control of Stanley...

 My mind immediately lept to Steve Martin's body controlled by Lily Tomlin's spirit in All of Me (1984) and Linguini's body going all marionette for Remy in Ratatouille (2007) so the concept is just rich for potentially golden physical slapstick and awkward charm. Not that it's easy to be as good as either of those pictures!

More after the jump including Oscar potential...

Click to read more ...