Dan's Review: "Ralph Breaks the Internet" explores new, fun territory of the digital world
Nov 16, 2018 10:29AM
● By Dan Metcalf
John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman in Ralph Breaks the Internet - © 2018 Disney.
Ralph Breaks the Internet (Disney)
Rated PG for some action and rude humor.
Starring (voices of) John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Alfred Molina, Alan Tudyk, Ed O'Neill, Flula Borg, Hamish Blake, Ali Wong, GloZell Green, Timothy Simons, Ana Ortiz, Jennifer Hale, Kate Higgins, Jodi Benson, Paige O'Hara, Linda Larkin, Irene Bedard, Ming-Na Wen, Anika Noni Rose, Mandy Moore, Kelly Macdonald, Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Auliʻi Cravalho, Pamela Ribon, Craig Smith, Brian Curless, Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, Colleen Ballinger, Dani Fernandez, Ravi Fuad, Tiffany Herrera, Tim Allen, Brad Garrett, Anthony Daniels, Vin Diesel, Michael Giacchino, Corey Burton, Kevin Deters, Jeremy Milton, Jesse Averna, Katie Lowes, Jamie Elman, Melissa Villaseñor, Stan Lee.
Written by Phil Johnston, Pamela Ribon, Rich Moore, Jim Reardon, and Josie Trinidad.
Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston.
As technology changes, so does culture. It used to be that kids would spend several hours and several quarters in video game arcades, rarely seeing the light of day. Arcade culture was the setting for Disney’s 2012 film Wreck-It Ralph. It seemed more like an homage to arcade days, since there are so few of them in operation, mostly due to the rise of home game consoles and (of course) the Internet. This is probably the reasoning behind Ralph Breaks the Internet, a sequel six years in the making, as gaming culture has left the malls and invaded living rooms.
John C. Reilly is back as the voice of Ralph, the villain in the “Fix-It Felix Jr.” arcade game who rose to hero status after reinstating Princess Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) to her rightful rule in the “Sugar Rush” game located inside the arcade owned by Mr. Litwak (Ed O’Neill). Other characters from the first movie play an important role in the film, including Felix (Max Brayer) and his wife Jean (Jane Lynch). Vanellope has grown tired of winning all the same races on the same tracks, but Ralph is content to be her best friend and stay in the arcade. Litwak installs WiFi in the arcade at the same time “Sugar Rush” steering wheel is broken (due to Ralph’s interference). A replacement part is available through E-Bay but costs more than the game is worth. Vanellope and Ralph use the WiFi connection to enter the Internet in search of a way to find the missing part. They find the part and place a huge bid on E-Bay for it, only to discover that they will lose the bid if they don’t come up with the money to cover it. Vanellope is drawn to a free online game called “Slaughter Race” where a beautiful racer names Shank (Gal Gadot) dominates. They are caught trying to steal Shank’s car and Ralph is videotaped making a funny face. The video goes viral, which draws the attention of Yesss (Taraji P. Henson) an algorithm that determines online trends. Seeing an opportunity, Yesss convinces Ralph to make more videos that will generate ad dollars and get them the money they need to pay for the steering wheel. As Ralph tries to earn the money, Vanellope visits the “Disney” section of the Internet where she meets all relevant Disney princesses (many of them voiced by the same actors who played originally played them, including Ariel (Jodi Benson), Belle (Paige O'Hara), Jasmine (Linda Larkin), Pocahontas (Irene Bedard), Mulan (Ming-Na Wen), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), Merida (Kelly Macdonald), Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel), and Moana (Auliʻi Cravalho). Other Disney properties like Star Wars and Marvel characters also make cameos. Vanellope begins to have conflict over whether she should be trying to get back to the boring Sugar Rush game or explore new horizons with Shank in Slaughter Race. Ralph can’t deal with losing Vanellope as his best friend and tries to insert a virus into Slaughter Race, with devastating consequences. Ralph must come to terms with his insecurities and co-dependency on Vanellope to fix what he has broken.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is a lot of fun. It’s full of surprises and plenty of Internet-related humor (be sure to stay all the way through the end credits for a few hilarious bonus scenes). There is also a substantial amount of character development going on, especially in the dynamic between Ralph and Vanellope, which is rare in a sequel. Usually, such movies stick to a formula to play it safe. The computerized animation is top-notch, and the voice performances are well-suited for a movie about digital characters.
If you love Disney and all its culture, Ralph Breaks the Internet will fulfill all your mouse ear needs. Most of the time, I’m annoyed by Disney’s efforts to synergize all their content into ALL their content with shameless cross-promotion running rampant. In this case, the cross-promotion works, since the inclusion of so many Disney characters (especially the princesses) play an integral part of the story, in this case, giving Vanellope inspiration to find her inner strength/purpose, while Vanellope inspires the princesses to live a more casual life. It’s all in good fun and should satisfy lots of little fans who adore the characters.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is one of the best animated films of the year, albeit in the year in a with little competition for animated features. It’s a great movie for all families immersed in the Internet Age and should be considered one of the better Disney sequels.
Ralph Breaks the Internet Trailer