When it was first revealed that Disney was hard at work crafting one of its famous family films with a decided focus on the world of gaming, those who consider video games to be a crucial aspect of their existence were simultaneously bemused and dismissive. “It’s great that Disney wants to make a movie about gaming,” they shrugged, “but the company will probably just fill the thing with stupid Pac-Man and Mario knockoffs and lame jokes about monkeys named ‘Donkey.’”
As of this morning however, it seems that those concerns are no longer valid. The film will feature appearances by actual gaming icons — and if Ain’t It Cool News is to be believed, the cast of pixelated titans will be surprisingly esoteric.
“… there will be cameo appearances from characters from Midway, Sega, Nintendo, and various other video game companies in the movie,” AICN reports. “The scene they showed [at the ongoing CinemaCon gathering in Las Vegas], the opening scene which had a support group for video game characters, had such disparate cameos as Zangief from Street Fighter, to Kano from Mortal Kombat, and even a Pac-Man ghost.”
The report does specify that it’s unclear if these cameos are only included in that particular scene or if the appearance of famous video game characters is a running theme throughout the movie, though obviously we’ve got our fingers crossed for the latter.
Having read this, there are probably a number of you wondering how any of this makes sense in the context of a feature film. Wreck-It Ralph, though a movie about gaming, is more accurately a film about the personal lives of the characters we’ve been playing as for the past few decades. A Disney press release circa 2011 describes the flick’s plot thusly:
Wreck-It Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) longs to be as beloved as his game’s perfect Good Guy, Fix-It Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer). Problem is, nobody loves a Bad Guy. But they do love heroes … so when a modern, first-person shooter game arrives featuring tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch), Ralph sees it as his ticket to heroism and happiness. He sneaks into the game with a simple plan — win a medal — but soon wrecks everything, and accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Ralph’s only hope? Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman), a young trouble-making “glitch” from a candy-coated cart racing game who might just be the one to teach Ralph what it means to be a Good Guy. But will he realize he is good enough to become a hero before it’s “Game Over” for the entire arcade?
In sum, the film is typical Disney fare that just so happens to use the interconnected, likely non-existent world in which gaming characters interact with one another on their off-time that we all imagined must exist at some point during our respective childhoods. It’s a novel idea and offers a solid premise for an entertaining family film, and the list of stars attached to this project only offers further hope that Wreck-It Ralph might be a quality movie.
As of today however, we’re almost more interested in how the flick’s original characters will interact with characters created by Capcom, Nintendo and all the rest, than in how they interact with one another. For that matter, there’s also the question of how Disney managed to secure the rights to all of these characters. That can’t have been cheap, and it will be interesting to see if the film can pull in enough profit to justify the presence of Russia’s most famous bear wrestler.