The new Disney movie Ralph Breaks Internet was the best movie at the box office for a few weeks in a row, not a particular surprise at a festive time when people are looking for movies that entertain children without boring adults. The original 2012 Wreck-It Ralph was a revelation for the Disney movies: a fleet, fun, but exciting, which involved the public in the world of video games and focused on a villain of the game, Ralph, who wanted to be seen as a hero. Find her best friend in Vanellope von Schweetz, a star of the candy-themed racing game that was ousted from her own game.
In the sequel, Ralph inadvertently breaks the Vanellope game console, and the two characters go on the Internet together, hoping to find a part of the replacement console on eBay. It's a vertiginous film, lighter than the first, and full of visual gags and riffs on Disney's history. Recently I spoke with directors Rich Moore (who also directed the first film) and Phil Johnston (who co-wrote both Ralph films) about the challenges they faced in the new film: programming 300,000 Ralph for the film's climax, drawing a musical sequence that was fun and serious at the same time, and dealt with real brands and brands in bringing the Internet into the world of Ralph.
This interview has been condensed for clarity and brevity. General spoiler for Ralph Interrupts Internet .
It seems that the Internet in this film is designed to be overwhelming, but it must also be analysable to the eye. How did you approach art to make it something that people could visually understand?
Rich Moore: We wanted you to feel like a personified internet, which meant that we wanted to use websites that everyone knows, but make them feel like they could be places you could enter. So, to this end, we said, "This needs to feel like a giant planet-city." When you see eBay, it looks like a giant place where you could get in and jump into an auction. Making it perceivable as something similar, like a big city that everyone knows, but which then fill it with existing websites and when you visit them or see them in the distance, it's fantastic and familiar at the same time.
Phil Johnston: This is a software program that was created when Big Hero 6 was created to allow the rendering of our films at a speed and with a level of detail that did not previous. We could not have made this film two or three years ago, without updating that system. For example, there are shots in this film that have more than a million characters in one shot, in one million of those small Internet vehicles. We could not have conceived it two years ago. It could not have been done. So it allowed us to really use our imagination without limits. And that's always the way Disney has worked where technology and creativity are two parts of the same brain.
RM: Lighting with Hyperion is much more intuitive than the old system we had. In the old system, the lighters had to hide the rigs in all the scenes and illuminate each shot in a univocal way. Considering that with the new software, the light comes from real light sources. I know it sounds crazy that it was not like that before, but now it's like a sun in the sky of the virtual set, from which that light comes out. There are street lamps and other light sources. Before it was not like that. It would take much longer to illuminate a scene, because you should almost start at zero with each shot. Now, lighters can actually illuminate a scene as if it were a live-action set, and that information goes from one hit to another, now, rather than being a square every time.
I & # 39; I saw the first concept designs for your internet, and they are not represented by companies or real websites. At what point did you decide that you wanted this to reflect the real world?
PJ: It was early enough. Those initial projects that were launched around the world were made at a point where we were not sure what the legal situation was, how could we use Google, or was it G-ü-gle, with a umlaut?  RM: We were still studying the laws.
PJ: So it was a sort of two-part thing. One is that we have learned that copyright law and fair use say that we can use those names in our film without obtaining permission. And the reason we wanted to do it was that we wanted it to look like the real Internet we use every day. And so we followed the first film, where we used Pac-Man and Street Fighter and stuff like that, while we also spent a lot of the film in the games we had invented. So it is a similar type of composition in this, where there are Google and Amazon and YouTube, but we go to BuzzTube and Slaughter Race and Knowsmore and other sites that we have created ourselves.
Did you get permission to use logos or talk to companies about how you were portraying them?
RM: Actually? No. It's a bit like a live action film. Let's say they're shooting a movie in Chicago, and a car is going around, and we're seeing things we know in the background, like Starbucks or McDonald's. You do not have to cross and paint that stuff, because it's just a part of the tapestry of the environment. Now, if we commented on those companies, or used their mascots, we would have legal consequences. But if it's just the signage in the background, then it's okay.
Speaking to work with companies on portraits, as was the conversation with Disney on how you could use the princesses, how far could you go with the humor?
RM: Well, when we imagined that scene, we made it a very rough version, just to be able to show people: "This is what we are thinking, how we would like to use a little 39 of our character in a way that is quite satirical.We are taking a little bit of ourselves. "We wrote the scene and built a very rough version of it using storyboards, just drawings in black and white, a scratched soundtrack. None of the actresses originally created the parts. And we made sure that we could show it to our colleagues in our studio and say "What do you think?" And he had a great reaction.
So we said, "Well, let's show it to the powers that are, our leaders, and see what they think." Everyone thought it was as fun as we were. They said, "It's great, you know, this is a way we can have fun with ourselves by respecting the heritage of the princesses and all the other Disney characters." And the feeling was: "You know, many people have fun at the expense of Why should we not enter into fun? What makes us different? We can satirize ourselves better than anyone could ever do. "
Part of this is your Vanellope musical sequence. It is set by the entire animated story of Disney, but it also seems to have specific hints to musicals such as La La Land . What happened in the creation of the musical sequence?
PJ: I think La Land was probably inspired by many of the same things we were inspired by, like the musicals of Busby Berkeley and Singing in the Rain and the iconic Disney musicals of the 1990s and earlier. But the main thing we wanted to do, both visually and from the point of view of writing, was to treat it like, maybe people think it's comical, but we do not think of it as a comic masterpiece. We think of it as an instrumental part of the story of Vanellope. And so even if, yes, there is a shark in the sewer, and there is a mist of Mace running through, visually we wanted it to be seen through the wide open eyes of Vanellope like this place that yes, for the Random observer, it could be rough and gritty and a bit coarse, but for her it's this beautiful wonderland. That, visually and musically, is what we were doing. Vanellope certainly does not think of it as a comic song, and we have chosen not to treat it this way.
That giant Ralph avatar at the end of the movie is one of the most complicated things I've seen in CG animation.
RM: Oh yes. That almost did not happen, it's so complex.
How did you visually approach that thing?
RM: Since the beginning of the development of history, we have had this idea that if this is a story about a guy who clings too tightly to his friend, the visual climax of the film, the climax what we want to represent, is that it lets go, releasing his friend, loosening his grip. Ralph's insecurity is really the villain of history. There is no traditional villain. It is only Ralph who wants to cling to Vanellope because he is afraid of being alone again. They went through several iterations before arriving at the idea of the clones and the Ralph monster. That giant Ralph is made up of 300,000 little Ralph. When we described it to our technical department, and our effects animation group, they were like, "Oh, this is … interesting!"
PJ: "Uh, great idea, guys!"  RM: "Great idea! Well, we'll have to make some changes to our pipeline to make this a reality! We will not be able to get close to that in the usual way we do this kind of thing, because it's so complex "But everyone played a lot. It was not until about two months ago, while the film was ending, that our team said, "You know, that giant Ralph in the end, we did not know how we would do it when we started this idea." really believe in the study that you have a group of people who dream of these crazy ideas, and then you have a group of technicians who plunges headlong to try to make those images come to life. From the first day of Disney Animation 95 years ago, what is pushing the study forward every year.
What's up with Gord? Everything in the film seems inspired by a reference to the real world, or tied to something, but that strange little bug-eye worm really threw me. Where he was born?
PJ: I am reluctant to admit it for this, but I will do it. It was a screenplay moment at a point where Spamley told Ralph and Vanellope: "Go with Gord" and Ralph thought he was saying "Go with God". It was just a joke about this, where Spamley finally said, "No, no, I mean with Gord ." That's why Gord was born. It was a stupid joke, and then the joke went away, but Gord stayed. We wanted a character who had a foot in Virus-land and a foot in legitimate sites, so that became Gord. But the original idea was just a stupid word. [ Both laughs ]
RM: Spamley had this creepy little assistant who kept popping up behind Ralph and Vanellope and scared them every time, this little bizarre and silent character that Spamley loves, like a complement to him.
PJ: We were there the day they were doing the foley for Gord's elastic arm, and they are two balloons that rub together to create that little crunching arm of his.
RM: So no, you do not absolutely miss a reference. [ Both laugh hysterically ]
PJ: You know as much as we do. You're the first person to ask this question, and I'm very happy to have done it. I'm just happy to take it off my chest.