Six years after Wreck-It-Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz first raced across the big-screen, the video-game characters are back in Ralph Breaks the Internet. Disney Animation Studio’s first sequel since Fantasia 2000, Ralph Breaks the Internet is full of laughs and emotionally heavy moments that will give everyone in the family something to think about.
After Ralph and Vanellope accidentally break the steering wheel on Sugar Rush, they embark on a journey into the newly plugged-in Wi-Fi to find a new one. To earn enough money for a spare part, Ralph sets off trying to make as much money as possible online by lifting popular game items or becoming a viral sensation. But, as Ralph works diligently to return things to how they’ve always been, Vanellope starts to think about what kind of changes she wants in her own life after finding this new world.
With John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman in the lead, Ralph Breaks the Internet is packed full of powerful performances. The actors recorded in the booths together (sans Gal Gadot’s sessions for the badass racer Shank because she was busy filming Wonder Woman 1984) and the intimacy between the performers comes across in all of their voices and adds to the emotional weight of each moment. Newcomer Taraji P. Henson turns in a powerful performance as Yesss, an algorithm that determines what’s hot and what’s not. Throughout most of the movie the character is a go-getter with a lot of energy, but there are moments throughout Ralph Breaks the Internet where Yesss becomes much more vulnerable and intimate with those around her. While the smaller, heavy moments likely won’t be remembered by kids upon exiting the theater, every major character is given a small, introspective moment to shine as they deal with life’s changes.
The internet will exist for centuries, but this movie is very much so a critique of how the internet stands today. Brands like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube (appropriately renamed BuzzTube in Ralph Breaks the Internet) are all made fun of and included in the movie. Universal features like pop-up ads and comment sections are touched upon, but the movie really comes into its own when the internet is looked as as a place that can equally make the user feel good and exacerbates their insecurities. In many ways, Ralph Breaks the Internet is one of the most important critiques about the internet in recent memory, and its especially vital for children who never knew a world without the web. As Vloggers seemingly take over the world, this movie directly confronts why individuals seek the anonymous approval of others and what that says about modern society. For a movie jam-packed full of jokes, and trust me there were quite a few moments where I laughed pretty hard (or lold as my internet friends say), Ralph Breaks the Internet is a touching, tender film that tackles why people are so desperate for connection and how self-destructive they can be in order to preserve those relationships.
Anyone who’s been to Disneyland knows that the media company is the master of synergy. Well, that synergistic energy is ramped up to 11 in Ralph Breaks the Internet as Ralph and Vanellope find a Disney fansite modeled on D23, Disney’s bi-annual convention held in Anaheim, California. The interactions between Vanellope and the rest of the Disney princesses, all voiced by their original actresses except for Snow White, are some of the most enjoyable, funny throughout the movie. Not only does each princess have a moment to shine and crack a joke — their new casual dressware is especially funny — but their inclusion in Ralph Braks the Internet leads to an important critique on their tendency to wait for a man to rescue them. While the movie certainly celebrates Disney’s past and even includes new hits like Marvel and Star Wars, it shines brightest when directly commenting on the studio’s past as it pushes things forward with a new, young and independent Princess. Vanellope, in contrast to the classic Princesses, has no problem doing things her own way and certainly isn’t waiting for anyone to tell her what to do — and that fiery spark of independence shines during the hilarious musical number “A Place Called Slaughter Race.”
As far as the animation goes, Ralph Breaks the Internet is one of the most gorgeously rendered films I’ve seen in a while. Thanks to popping colors and detailed character designs, the world feel vibrant and alive. The internet has been depicted in animation numerous times, but the way the animators captured the inter-connectivity and sense of scope helps give the internet an awe-inspiring and overwhelming feeling simultaneously. The pixelated glow beckons Ralph and Vanellope onward, but the inclusion of a shady darkweb and destructive viruses serves to remind the characters that nothing is as ideal as it seems.
I wouldn’t have guessed this, but Ralph Breaks the Internet is an important movie to watch for people who may struggle with co-dependency issues or people moving on from the loss of a friend or partner. Underneath all the meme humor is a movie that looks at how people change and what that means for relationships as they evolve. Sometimes people have different goals or different ideas of what makes a perfect life, and that’s okay, but it can be a hard lesson to learn. While a lot of the emotional beats may go over the heads of young children, I’m happy that Disney chose to make such an emotionally resonant film here. Sure, the movie leans on references a bit too much, bur Ralph Breaks the Internet is an important film for both children and adults that will make them laugh and maybe even cry.
Final Score: 7.5/10
The 9 Best Things About ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’
Well, cowboys and cowgirls, Red Dead Redemption 2 is finally here. Eight years after the original title took the gaming world by storm, Rockstar is back with a prequel set ten years before the original. For people who like horses but may not want to ride them in real life, they’re in luck, because anyone who plays Red Dead Redemption 2 will be sitting on a horse for quite a while. As you pursue an outlaw life, jumping from town-to-town, players explore a world full of danger and excitement behind every corner.
Red Dead Redemption 2 has already broken pretty much every entertainment record imaginable. It’s had the most successful opening weekend for any entertainment product ever, so you don’t need to take my word on why this game is so good, just go look at the numbers. Underneath the massive, 60-hour story, is a beautiful world layered with complicated characters, powerful predators and painful memories. So, what are you waiting for, go jump on your horse and start playing this game!
Hit Next to discover the 9 Best Things about Red Dead Redemption 2!