There’s a stigma in movies that video game movies…stink. And often, they do. For every exception, there are about thousand examples of ones that stink hard. So when Disney released a movie called Wreck-It Ralph, which was about video games, but in a different way, I was intrigued. I saw it on my birthday (I kid you not) and it was an amazing film. How it took six years to make a sequel is beyond me, but, the result with Ralph Breaks The Internet made me feel like that birthday boy all over again (and just for the record, my birthday was only a few weeks ago. So it was a like a late birthday present to myself. Worth it!)
I promise not to spoil too much about Ralph Breaks The Internet, but I have to dive into some of it because it’s important to the review itself, ok?
So, if the original Wreck-It Ralph was about learning to be fine with one’s own skin, then Ralph Breaks The Internet is about friendship and learning to evolve with the times. Turns out, just like in real life, it’s been 6 years since the events of the original movie. And while Ralph is living it up in his own way and saying he’s got the perfect life, Vanellope isn’t on that same wavelength. Though she’s still beloved by gamers (which was a big plot point of the first film), she’s not happy with her life in the game anymore. She wants more, and yet she doesn’t know how to get it.
So, being a good friend, Ralph decides to “fix” her game a bit to help her out. Problem is, that unintentionally gets her game broken, and without the proper part (which costs a lot of money) the arcade machine will get scrapped, and that leave Vanellope and the other characters without a home (another aspect that was talked about in the main film). So, what are they going to do? Simple, they’re going to the Internet to get the part!
I want to pause here and talk about how the Internet looks in the film. You’ve seen it in part in the trailers and such, but in the movie itself (where they have time to show it all) it’s truly gorgeous. Sure, they have a lot of typical stuff like the tweet birds and the Showmore guy filling it out your sentences, but it’s more than just that.
You see the avatars of the people in real life looking for things across the Internet, and the weird things that the Internet does to them. You get to see things like eBay and how it works in the “virtual world”, or how scams are “defeated” by security. Plus, not unlike certain other animated movies, you’ll want to watch Ralph Breaks The Internet just so you can see all the hidden little Easter Eggs and such; I was actually keeping my eyes peeled for them and it was still hard to keep up with them all. It’s really a treat to see some of them in action.
But, the movie doesn’t just plant the look of the Internet for you to see. It talks and pokes fun at all that the Internet does. From the insanity of eBay and people buying things for insane prices, to people using search bars to find people from their past (that they’re clearly stalking…), to their spoof of Youtube and how people will watch dumb videos to be entertained for all of 30 seconds, and even the more harmful parts of the Internet, like viruses, mean comments, and more. It’s really great. The writers and artists and animators really made everything work.
Of course, without the characters, this film wouldn’t have meant as much.
Ralph and Vanellope shine in the film as their friendship is put to the ultimate test. First to save Vanellope’s game, then to try and stay together (if that’s even in the cards) so that their friendship isn’t shattered. We see two very different sides of the characters than we did in the original Wreck-It Ralph. Where Ralph didn’t have friends before, now, he has a best friend, one he’d do anything for, and he wants her to stay in his life. Vanellope meanwhile is struggling with not being happy, and when she finds something that does make her happy, she’s not sure if she can go back to what was just…ok.
There are some new characters as well that makes Ralph Breaks The Internet great. Shank is one of the biggest additions, played by Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman). She represents the freedom and joy that Vanellope wants, as well as being one of the coolest characters in all of the Internet (no lie, she’s great). She’s a great foil to Ralph and the others because she’s looser, more free, but she also gives good advice.
Then, there’s “Yesss”, played by the amazing Taraj P. Henson (Person of Interest, Empire). She represents the “fame” side of the Internet, and is key in helping Ralph and Vanellope get the money they need to fix Sugar Rush. She’s part agent, part model, part business woman, and she knows how to work the Internet, and yet, she too has wise advice that the others need.
Oh, and did I mention the Disney Princesses are here?
Yes, these amazing ladies (many of whom are voiced by their original voice actresses) were a highlight in the original trailers, and they’re just as big a treat here. Their interactions with Vanellope is easily the highlight of the film, especially one interaction that ISN’T shown in the trailers that I couldn’t stop laughing at when it was done. Do NOT think that their inclusion is to “lure in kids”, trust me when I say they’re a big part of the plot.
Sadly, Fix-It Felix and Calhoun (who have been married for a while now and are still going strong) have minimal time this go round. But they do make the most of it.
Before I get to the downpoints, I want to talk about the “Final Boss” if you will. While Ralph Breaks The Internet doesn’t have a character like King Candy, there is a villain here, and it’s not who you expect, and they definitely didn’t tease it in the trailers (thank goodness). But when you see it, you’ll realize that it is a visual treat. And for those who have seen The Martrix Revolutions (yes, it wasn’t the best, I’m just making a reference here), you’ll see the connection. Seriously though, it’s really good visually, so stay tuned for that.
There are a few things that drag it down from being perfect. First and foremost, while Slaughter Race (where Shank is from) was a good plot point, the fact that the plot led them to the place where Vanellope would just so HAPPEN to find happiness is a bit forced. You’ll understand when you see it. Also, there are a few plot holes that honestly don’t make a ton of sense. One of which includes the “value” of an arcade machine. Finally, the “Final Boss” goes out on a big Disney note, and while it is cool…that’s not exactly how things work in the real world.
Still, these nitpicks aside, Ralph Breaks the Internet does what few sequels ever truly do: match, and possibly even surpass, the original in many ways. Go see this movie. You won’t wreck-gret it. I mean, regret it. Dang glitch.
If you loved the original Wreck-It Ralph, you’ll love Ralph Breaks The Internetjust as much. It’s got a great story, lots of heart, amazing visuals, and numerous Easter Eggs for you to find as you watch it over and over again!