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February 2, 2013

Don't miss seeing Oscar-nominated Disney animated short 'Paperman' online

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Just in time for Valentine's Day -- and the Oscars -- a touching Disney animated short is available online.

"Paperman," which was widely seen in theaters with screenings of Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph" in November, has been released on YouTube. The six-minute short is set in the 1940s and follows a couple after their chance meeting on a train platform. When the man spots the woman in an office high-rise across from his own, he determines that the best way to get her attention is by sending paper airplanes across the street to her. As you can imagine, this appears to be a hopeless mission.

Directed by John Kahrs, "Paperman" is a black-and-white cartoon that seamlessly mixes hand-drawn and computer-generated animation. "Wired" explains how Kahrs developed this combination: "[He] told 'Cartoon Brew' that the origin of 'Paperman' 'really came out of working so much with Glen [Keane] on 'Tangled.' After looking at the work of Keane - a classic Disney animator who worked on 'The Little Mermaid,' 'Beauty and The Beast' and 'Aladdin,' among many other projects - Kahrs found himself with a new appreciation for traditional animation and drawing techniques. 'I thought, Why do we have to leave these drawings behind? Why can't we bring them back up to the front of the image again? Is there a way that CG can kinda carry along the hand drawn line in a way that we haven't done before?' "

In addition, the use of a single color, red, incorporated in one image is effective in conveying the romantic longing that is such a universal emotion.

In fact, the simplicity of this Walt Disney Animation Studios film is appealing to all ages. My elementary-school-age children were engaged with the story, as were many of the other kids in the theater waiting to see "Wreck-It Ralph" -- and it is a wordless film. For those not interested in the romantic angle, the mystery of the paper airplanes and the tornado they create certainly is entertaining. When the cartoon reached its satisfying ending, our theater erupted in applause from the young and the young-at-heart.

How could you not smile after viewing this film?

Paperman is nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Animated Short Film. It is competing against "Fresh Guacamole," "Maggie Simpson in the Longest Daycare," "Head Over Heel" and "Adam and Dog."

Three other Disney films have been nominated for Best Animated Feature Film: "Brave," "Frankenweenie" and "Wreck-It Ralph." They are up against "ParaNorman" and "The Pirates! Band of Misfits." And Disney's new franchise -- "Marvel's The Avengers" - competes in the Best Visual Effects category against "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," "Life of Pi," "Prometheus" and "Snow White and the Huntsman."

The Oscars will be awarded on Feb. 24.

RELATED LINK:
Walt Disney and Pixar Studios

November 3, 2012

Get in the game with Disney's 'Wreck-It Ralph'

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Expect to be immersed in another world from your childhood when you see Walt Disney Animation Studios' newest animated film, "Wreck-It Ralph." Much like the clever and funny "Toy Story" series, "Wreck-It Ralph" allows audiences a look at what goes on with our playthings when the kids aren't around. Yet this time it's a view behind the screens of video games to expose what happens after the kids leave the arcade.

The story is about Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly), the bad guy in the Fix-It Felix, Jr. game. As his name indicates, Ralph's job is to destroy things that the other residents of Niceville, especially hero Fix-It Felix Jr. (voiced by Jack McBrayer), have built. After 30 years of being an outcast, Ralph is fed up and decides to try to prove he, too, can be one of the good guys so that he will be accepted by the other game characters.

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Ralph's quest takes him to other game worlds in the arcade, and the journey is one of rich detail -- both in the animation and the writing. Game graphics cleverly morph from the eight-bit displays of the '80s to the detailed scenes of today's first-person point-of-view sets. The vibrant colors really make the animation pop, and Director Rich Moore, perhaps best known for "The Simpsons," uses the 3D effects well without overwhelming the audience.

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Adults will get a kick out of appearances from characters in games of their youth -- from Q*bert and Sonic the Hedgehog to various Pac-Man gobblers and their ghost enemies. At one point, Ralph is even eating the bonus-point cherries from Pac-Man as he travels through the electrical cords of the arcade to other stand-alone video games.

Children can enjoy the movie for the surface story, which in itself is entertaining. But parents can appreciate some of the jokes that might go over the kids' heads -- especially in the make-believe land of Sugar Rush where police officers are shaped like donuts and King Candy's Oreo guards have a chant that will have "The Wizard of Oz" fans laughing in recognition.

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Ralph's search for hero status starts at Hero's Duty, a military-style game, where he meets Sergeant Calhoun (voiced by Jane Lynch) and attempts to earn a medal. There is no mistaking Lynch with her over-the-top comments and crazy analogies that her "Glee" character made famous. Ralph finds out that not all games are created equal when she barks at the soldiers, "The kitten whiskers and tickle fights stop now."

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He ends up in cart-racing game Sugar Rush, where he makes his first friend, Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman), a 9-year-old glitch in the game. She's another strong female figure, but this one needs Ralph's help. Ralph learns to navigate her world and their friendship, and they encounter a few speed bumps along the way. Falling Mentos at Diet Cola Hot Springs play a pivotal role in the clash of good and evil in Sugar Rush, and ultimately, the movie. In the end, Ralph gets his chance to shine, and audiences are in for a sweet treat.

DISCLAIMER: I was a guest at a screening of "Wreck-It Ralph." This did not influence my review, and my opinions are my own.


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About Wreck-It Ralph

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Wreck-It Ralph category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Super Buddies is the previous category.

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