CinemaCon 2012: Classic video game characters to cameo in Disney's 'Wreck-It Ralph'
Remember how cool it was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit to see Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Droopy Dog, Donald Duck, Daffy Duck, Bettie Boop, Woody Woodpecker, and countless other cartoon icons together?
And wasn’t it kind of awesome to see real-world Malibu Barbie, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, the green army men, Etch-a-Sketch, Slinky Dog, and the Barrel of Monkeys tossed in among the playthings of Toy Story?
Disney is now uniting characters from an entirely different universe for Wreck-It Ralph, their Nov. 2 animated comedy about a 1980s-era videogame bad guy (voiced by John C. Reilly) who decides he’s sick of causing trouble and wants to become a hero.
In the story, game characters travel among their respective worlds via electrical plugs, and EW has details on a few of the classic videogame personalities who turn up on the big screen.
First, a little background: Wreck-It Ralph is the villain of a fictitious vintage arcade game called Fix-It Felix, Jr., which is a cross between the original Mario Bros. and the smash-’em-up game Rampage.
Ralph, who’s a human version of Donkey Kong, pulverizes a building, while Felix (a Mario-esque character voiced by 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer) comes in to repair the damage with his magic hammer, all the while dodging bricks thrown by you-know-who. After more than 30 years of this, Ralph starts to feel depressed about his life.
“Look, a steady arcade gig is nothing to sneeze at,” Ralph says in the opening scene previewed this week at CinemaCon, the annual convention for theater owners. “But when you’ve been doing this as long as I’ve been doing it, it starts to feel hard to love your job — especially when no one else seems to like you for doing it.”
The movie features other spoofs of real-life games: Glee‘s Jane Lynch is a Sarge-like figure (Halo) in a sci-fi first-person shooter called Hero’s Duty, and comedian Sarah Silverman voices cutie-pie Vanellope Von Schweetz in a dessert-themed Mario Kart-style racing game called Sugar Rush.
But before Ralph ventures into those worlds, we find him confessing his woes in a support group for fellow videogame villains, and that’s where the first big cameos begin.
This is who showed up for the meeting, featured here in pixelated sprite form …
Zangief, the Russian wrestler from Street Fighter II
This hulking Soviet brawler in bright red briefs first appeared in Capcom’s 1987 Street Fighter II and has a major speaking part in the opening scene of Wreck-It Ralph as a member of Bad Guys Anonymous (a.k.a. Bad-Anon) who relates to Ralph’s existential plight.
“When I hit bottom, I was crushing man’s skull like sparrow egg between my thighs. I think, why you have to be so bad, Zangief? Why can’t you be more like good guy?” the character says. “Then I have moment of clarity.… I say, ‘Zangief, you are a bad guy, but this does not mean you are bad…guy.”
Ralph says he doesn’t really know what that means.
Zombie from Resident Evil
This villain steps forward to explain to Ralph what Zangief was getting at, even though he’s not the most eloquent speaker either.
“Zangief saying labels not make you happy,” the zombie snarls. “Good…bad…Nnnnnnn…you must love you!”
Deep thoughts from the undead. And to be fair, this could be a zombie character from any videogame, but this pixelated interpretation that menaces Resident Evil‘s Jill Valentine in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 most closely approximates the one we see in Wreck-It Ralph.
Other villains who turn up in the scene are more specific.
Clyde, the orange ghost from Pac-Man
Inky, Blinky, and Pinky aren’t around, but let’s be honest — we always suspected Clyde was the introspective one of the group. In Wreck-It Ralph, a smooth, digitally rendered version of the dome-shaped little ghost serves as the group leader for the gathering of troubled villains. Perhaps because he’s been around so long, Clyde is at peace with his role in the Pac-Man world. He only freaks out and starts flashing when Ralph tells the gang he doesn’t want to be a bad guy anymore.
Bowser from Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros.
Ralph’s admission that he wants to quit villainy not only makes Clyde the Pac-Man ghost start flashing, it causes this formidable troublemaker from 1985’s Super Mario Bros. (and countless Mario games since) to double over and start coughing up fireballs.
I guess being King Koopa and having an armored shell does not mean your nervous stomach is iron clad.
M. Bison from Street Fighter II
Like Zangief the wrestler, this would-be dictator also made his debut in Capcom’s 1987 fighting game Street Fighter II, and although he doesn’t have a lot to say in this scene, that’s probably just because it was awkward to see a coworker at such an intimate meeting. This would not be M. Bison’s first time appearing on screen. He was famously (or notoriously) portrayed by Raul Julia in a 1994 live-action Street Fighter movie, and Neil McDonough in 2007’s even more cheesy Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li.
Doctor Ivo Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog
Also known as Doctor Eggman, this mad scientist from Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog also keeps mainly to the background of Wreck-It Ralph‘s Bad-Anon meeting, but his rotund form, spindly legs and bushy mustache are unmistakeable. While he’s a genius, he also tended to throw tantrums in the 1991 game, so maybe he’s just trying to keep his mood in check during the gathering.
In any case, he’s there to help speak the group’s mantra in unison with the others as the scene ends: “I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.”
Okay guys, now get out there and fight the bad fight.