This year Disney released two animated features (Three if you count Frankenweenie, but we won’t include stop-motion for the purpose of this article). One stars a princess who breaks from tradition and discovers that family is at the core of what’s important, the other features incredible worlds crafted from scratch, ground breaking computer animation, and a story that is full of heart. Normally, you’d say Disney Animation released the Princess film and Pixar the other, but this year the roles are reversed. With Brave, Pixar ventured into what was traditionally Disney’s territory, so it’s only fair that Disney Animation Studios returns the favor.
I’m happy to say that with Wreck-it Ralph, Walt Disney Animation Studios has returned to the top of the animation game, matching, if not surpassing, anything you would expect from its more successful partner up in Emeryville. It does this while remaining true to the core values of Disney animation, which is a focus on great story and characters who you really feel for.
In Wreck-it Ralph, Disney attempts to do for video games what Pixar’s Toy Story did for toys; Give us insight into the world that goes on when humans aren’t around. In this case the movie starts inside the classic 1982 arcade game Fix-it Felix Jr. The titular character is the game’s bad-guy; always destroying and then being defeated night game after game. After 30 years this begins to weigh on him so much that he visits a support group for video game bad-guys. But what really sets him off is when the other characters have a party celebrating the game’s 30 years of being plugged in and fail to invite him.