RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, from directors Phil Johnston and Rich Moore, the writers of Zootopia, is the highly anticipated sequel to 2012’s Wreck It Ralph. The film takes place 6 years after the event of the original and finds Ralph and Vanellope on a new adventure upon their discovery of the internet. The film hosts a slew of A-list voice actors which include John C. Reilly as Ralph, Sarah Silverman as Vanellope, Gal Gadot as Shank and Taraji P. Henson as Yesss.
In RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET, we find Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz in a comfortable state of normalcy; however, upon the introduction of a Wi-Fi router, Vanellope begins to feel disenchanted by the monotonous routine within Litwak’s arcade. When her arcade game Sugar Rush breaks down, Ralph and Vanellope decide to take a risk and explore the uncharted world of the internet in hopes of finding the sole piece needed to fix Sugar Rush. While there, they encounter a slew of colorful characters known as the citizens of the Internet who help guide them on their journey for the missing game piece. However, when Vanellope becomes attached to Slaugher Race, a gritty online auto-racing game, Ralph begins to worry that he may lose his only friend to this brand-new, exciting world of the Internet.
Having enjoyed the first film, I was mildly intrigued to see how the sequel would play out, and though it didn’t live up to its predecessor, it was still a rather amusing viewing experience. The film starts off showing Ralph and Vanellope enjoying life within Litwak’s arcade; however, Vanellope isn’t content and a sliver of boredom has begun to crack open within her. When an accident occurs in which her video game shuts down, Ralph and Vanellope travel to the “Internet” in hopes of finding the missing piece so that they can go back to life as it was. It’s not until Vanellope discovers Slaughter Race that she begins to question if she wants to go back to Litwak’s arcade at all. As much as this is a fun, animated film, it does deal with heavier topics such as friendship, growth, identity, and trust.
What I found to be most surprising about this film was just how dark it really was. This element occurred mostly in the auto-racing game Slaughter Race, which resembled that of the hugely popular video game, Grand Theft Auto. Since this is a Disney film, the writers weren’t going to go to the same extreme that the writers of Grand Theft Auto go, but I did appreciate how similar in vein they were. Without giving anything away, I also enjoyed when Ralph had to visit the “dark web” in order to retrieve something. I gotta hand it to the animators when it came to designing the less that desirable landscapes of the internet because these were my favorite parts! I would love to see a Disney movie take place within the “dark web” (minus all the really offensive crimes that make my skin crawl); however, I think RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET is the closest we are going to get to that.
Beside the dark tones that permeated throughout the film, I really want to applaud Disney for being cheeky and taking the steps necessary to make fun of themselves. When we think of Disney princesses, we are given snapshots of these beautiful damsels in distress who are saved by the male hero with the result being that they both fall madly in love with each other. It’s a fantasy that has been criticized a lot as of late and for good reasons. Without going to deep into these misplaced expectations that the princess cliche exudes, I do want to touch upon how Disney handled the princess encounters in RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET because it was rather genius. When Vanellope runs into the Disney princesses in the Internet realm, their reactions to Vanellope are priceless. Instead of falling back on the Princess cliche, Disney instead embraced their ridiculous expectations and turned the narrative around to show that even though these characters were princesses, they were also independent women who didn’t need to rely on men to save them. Furthermore, when Vanellope, who is considered a princess, looks deep into body of water to contemplate who she truly is, the accompanying song is everything I could have hoped for and more.
All in all, I think a lot of people are going to enjoy RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET and for our horror fanbase, I do think the dark tones and themes will fulfill that need for intrigue and mystery. Though I focused my review more on Vanellope, who has become my new hero, it’s mainly because Ralph wasn’t as interesting to me. I get that he’s this goofy, lovable character that’s been misunderstood, but the way that he continuously clings onto Vanellope comes across as possessive and unsettling. I doubt that’s what the writers were going for but for me, it wasn’t an aspect of the film that I found to be appealing. Overall, I still found this movie to be amusing and one that I truly believe both kids and adults will have a blast seeing together. One final comment: after the movie ends, make sure you stay for both end credit scenes – they are NOT to be missed!
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET arrives in theaters Wednesday, November 21, 2018.