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How Disney could afford Shrek, South Park and Ugly Sonic?

In Tic et Tac les Rangers du risque, Disney multiplies the references and the easter-eggs, even if it means making fun of characters that do not belong to it.

With its meta humor and its ten references per minute, Tic and Tac the Risk Rangers stands out as one of the good surprises of this year on Disney+. Between the reboot and the tribute, Akiva Schaffer’s feature film grills all possible and imaginable references, even if it means destroying some childhood memories. In the midst of this joyous bric-a-brac, we still wonder how the giant with the big ears was able to afford competing characters without being worried.

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Peter Pan, Polochon and Roger Rabbit and Marvel

It’s not a surprise, Disney has a long tooth. Mickey’s empire has a good number of licenses, and has not deprived itself of abusing them in Tic and Tac the Risk Rangers. The film takes undisguised pleasure in destroying the references that made it so successful. We did not expect the American giant on this ground, we must admit that the result is rather enjoyable. Especially since the takeover of Marvel, 20th Century Fox and Star Wars, the firm has a size catalog to pick from.

For more than an hour and a half, Disney pays tribute to all of its historical or more recent productions. And the serious things start from the credits, with the transformation of the original logo, which becomes a hybrid between the castle of Arendelle in Snow Queenthe palace of Agrabah in Aladdin and the Kingdom of Triton in The little Mermaid. Simple extras or real protagonists of the story, the characters and the easter-eggs follow one another, from Flounder, officers Wynnchel and Duncan of Wreck it Ralph, to the mythical Roger Rabbit by Robert Zemeckis. Even the post-generic scene – now usual at Disney and Marvel – goes with its little cliffhanger, which teases a potential new spin-off to come.

Whether it’s Marvel or Star Wars, Disney’s latest acquisitions also get a nod. We thus find Tigra, the Marvel heroine during the convention in which Tac participates. A duo of Han and Leia mice are thrown into a chase with Sweet Pete. Even Paul Rudd, the interpreter of Ant-Man in the MCU, evokes during a fictitious interview how his character was almost renamed “Aunt-Man” (Tante-Man) for Disney.

Third-party licenses in spades

The characters from the Disney galaxy are not the only ones to have been mistreated in Tic and Tac the Risk Rangers. Throughout the film, Akiva Schaffer pokes fun at his creamery as much as the competition. We find here and there improbable references to the film (fortunately fictitious) of Batman vs E.T, to the world of Harry Potter and even the king of parody with South Park.

While Tic and Tac are in Sweet Pete’s lair, it is indeed possible to see Randy Marsh visibly under the effect of narcotics in the middle of a sauna with pigs. The cult series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone has long poked fun at Mickey (especially during the arc The Pandemic Special), it is now the turn of the series to give it back. Even Shrek and My Little Pony offer themselves an incursion on the small screen for the occasion.

The most successful foray is undoubtedly that of Ugly Sonic. Recurring character in the film, the blue hedgehog with its completely failed design is a direct reference to Jeff Fowler’s first version of the film. Fans remember it, in 2018 the first version of the character had caused a real outcry, to the point of pushing Paramount to completely revise its artistic direction. Four years and two blockbuster movies later, the internet never forgets, and Disney was happy to remind the world of this fiasco.

How did Disney cite so many third-party licenses?

At a time when the entertainment giants are waging a fierce war over broadcasting rights and licenses, how has Disney been able to afford so many references for its film? In France the right to parody remains unclear, but protects quotes for humorous purposes provided they do not discriminate against or harm the original author. In the United States, Fair Use works in much the same way, and makes it possible to make some legal exceptions to copyright in the context of a parody or a quotation.

However, these two concepts are still imbued with a large legal vagueness. No offense to Disney, it took out the wallet for this new project.

For Akiva Schaffer, the idea was above all to deliver a “love letter to animation“, without worrying about intellectual property. Asked by the site Deciderthe director indicated that the lawyers of the American giant had been particularly solicited to Tic and Tac the Risk Rangers : “They had a lot of work to do and they really got into it and were excited about the idea. Well, I’m sure at times they cursed the idea. (…) They had to research the rights, find the people, convince these lawyers and maybe have me participate in a Zoom to present the project. (…) So congratulations to them for having done it”.

Funny, goofy and irreverent, Tic and Tac the Rangers of risk succeeds where no one expected it, by offering Disney the sense of self-mockery that he sometimes lacks. With its different levels of reading and its easter-eggs in shambles, the film is a real success, to discover on Disney +.

Discover Tic et Tac les Rangers du risque on Disney+

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