Courtesy of Disney
In 1990, Rich Moore co-directed the first “Treehouse of Horror” episode of “The Simpsons.” Twenty-two years later, the Emmy-Award winner is tinkering with more than prime time with the release of his debut feature-length film “Wreck-It Ralph” – and he’s breaking records.
Backed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and slated to hit theaters Friday, the film holds the distinction of having one of the highest numbers of individual characters in a Disney movie with 190 of them.
The film focuses on the video game character Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly), who grows tired of being the villainous foil to character Fix-It Felix Jr. (voice of Jack McBrayer) and escapes to Hero’s Duty, a new game that lets him be a hero, giving him a chance to prove himself.
Moore said the film did not initially focus on Ralph as the main character.
“He was like the bad guy character that threw trash at Felix, you know?” Moore said. “Maybe that should be our main character. And it was at that point that I thought well, yeah, I mean it’s more interesting to watch a story about Donkey Kong than Mario, especially if Donkey Kong is wondering, ‘Why do I throw barrels at this guy? And why do people hate me for doing it?'”
Once the writers settled on Ralph for the lead role, they continued to create a record-breaking number of characters.
Moore said his time working on “The Simpsons” prepared him to direct a movie with this many characters.
“My background is from ‘Simpsons’ and ‘Futurama.’ And ‘Simpsons’ has a gigantic cast,” Moore said. “Over the years that cast has grown so big.”
The director was unaware his film had broken any records until a friend brought it to his attention.
Moore said breaking the record wasn’t his aim, but the film simply required a large cast.
“I mean it’s a big movie, and there are lots of locations,” he said.
The cast, which also includes Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch of “Glee,” brought their comedic talents together by recording their voice-overs together in the same room, Moore said.
Reilly especially impressed the director with his commitment to creating a Ralph character audiences could root for.
“I just root for every one of John’s characters and kind of want them to achieve their goals, you know,” Moore said. “He is amazing.”
Brian Orchosky, a fourth-year in computer and information science and the primary leader of Ohio State’s Game Creation Club, said the group is planning on seeing the movie due to its video game connection.
“Wreck-It Ralph seems like more than simply a movie about video games – it’s also (an) homage to them,” Orchosky said in an email. “That much is obvious because of all the cameos of established video game characters that they have, from the obvious to the obscure.”
Brant Finzer, a graduate student in chemistry, said he considers himself an “old game enthusiast.”
Finzer said he hasn’t seen any good movies that relate to video games.
“I don’t want to admit it, but I’ve seen the ‘Doom’ movie because The Rock was in it. That was just a travesty.” Finzer said.
He said he’s hopeful that “Wreck-It Ralph” will have quality video game humor.
“I might be able to get a few a chuckles out of it.” Finzer said.