WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Six years after the events of "Wreck-It Ralph", Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
It’s actually rare for Disney to make a theatrical feature-length sequel to their animated movies, so when they sign off on one you know they are confident with their story - and that confidence pays off in Ralph Breaks the Internet.
To pull off such a perfect representation of the Internet with so many intellectual properties mashed together, it can really only take such a big corporation as Disney to make it come together. But what really makes the film a delightful and endearing watch is its story and message - a new take on friendships for Disney that’s very mature, but also an important part of life that kids should learn from.
Six years have flown past since Ralph and Vanellope became fast friends, and they spend every night having fun in the various games of their arcade - until a new Wifi router shows up and opens a new world of adventure to them.
This could easily have become a big dig at the Internet, and while it shows a bit of shade here and there, the movie knows what it’s about and sticks to what made the first Wreck it Ralph so good. While the Internet gimmicks abound, it doesn’t overshadow the core of the story - Ralph and Vanellope’s friendship and the pains they have to go through in order to let that friendship mature and grow made for a surprising morality journey.
It’s quite a different approach to Disney’s common ‘friends dynamic’ prevalent in their movies, and shows that they continue to tackle the more sensitive emotional subjects. Even the good guys can make terrible mistakes with good intentions, and while it may break things (like the Internet), it’s only through growth and acknowledging your insecurities that you’re able to fix things.
The hard-hitting emotional drama doesn’t mean however that the movie is heavy (except for a scary representation of the dark web) and will honestly leave the Internet generations in stitches. The amount of jokes and puns about social media, Google and even Disney itself is well-crafted and manages to avoid becoming tacky. While Gal Gadot’s new character in the brutal Slaughterhouse online racing game is a little vanilla, her crew’s banter makes up for it.
Of the rest of the new characters, my favourite would be Knowsmore, an anamorphic version of the search bar played by Alan Tudyk, who previously voiced the psychotic Candy King in the previous movie. Another strong favourite is Yesss, an insatiable algorithm that’s a crazy but slick mashup of Buzzfeed and YouTube, voiced perfectly by Taraji P. Henson. She’s a representation of the good and bad parts of the Internet, but I think what I loved most about the movie is that it doesn’t feel like it was written by the older generation who loves to bash the younger generations’ love for everything digital, and instead gives us what the internet really is - a place with endless possibilities that can be used for good, despite a filthy underbelly that we need to be ever-vigilant against.
Also, the Oh My Disney scene with the princesses is pure gold, as expected it would be. The company is too aware of the shortcomings of its properties, and it's amazing.
Ralph Breaks the Internet has managed to sidestep the sequel curse with a twirl and split landing, and the world is a better place for it. It somehow manages to find a line where anyone would be hard pressed to really find something that would upset them (unfortunately and ironically the Internet will find a way) and is all around a delightful watch that will appeal to the tech-savvy kids of today as well as the adults who grew up during the rise of the web.