WALT DISNEY STUDIOS MOTION PICTURES (2018)

 

Directors: Rich Moore / Phil Johnston

Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O'Neill

Could this not-straight-to-DVD-Disney-sequel actually break the internet somehow?

 

It’s been a few years since Wreck-It Ralph was released (not Incredibles 2 length of time, however) but the lumbering brute is back and this time, he’s wreaking havoc within the Internet itself alongside his best buddy Vanellope. With Disney’s ever-expanding stable of properties fully immersing themselves within the world built here and the popularity of the first movie, things were looking good for our pal Ralph.

Still hanging out in Litwak's Family Fun Centre and racing in Sugar Rush, Ralph (Reilly) and Vanellope (Silverman) seemingly have everything they could want. However, when Vanellope’s frustrations with the lack of challenge within the game lead to the arcade machine being broken – alongside the exorbitant cost to the already struggling Fun Centre - the pair have to travel within the Internet (specifically to eBay) to retrieve the replacement part. Along the way, the vast scale and opportunity with the ‘Net appeals to Vanellope and begins to challenge the strong bond she shares with Ralph.

 

Disney usually manages to bring the good times, even in its less successful outings, and Ralph Breaks the Internet eulogises just that – enjoy the good times and appreciate your relationships, just evolve with them and you’ll be fine. It’s an endearing message for both young and old to adhere to. Alongside that, the movie (obviously) shows the internet for its good and bad sides (ease/convenience/helpfulness vs social media life/viruses/scammers etc.) and, again, is a handy warning to youngsters watching. The relationship between Ralph and Vanellope is expanded upon and is genuinely touching at points, providing the movies key narrative beat – in a movie with no villain per se, their relationship really is the crucial factor. Both Reilly and Silverman are excellent in their voice roles and Gal Gadot’s streetwise racer Shanks provides another point of inspiration for Vanellope and oozes cool.

 

Throughout, Ralph Breaks the Internet never breaks from being fun, though I didn’t find many laugh-out-loud moments amongst the stream of gags, but lots of little jokes that kept the humour flowing. Just like the World Wide Web itself, the glut of references that smother every inch of the screen can, at times, overshadow the narrative we are supposed to be following – but unlike other animated flicks in recent years, the novelty doesn’t wear thin or seem gratuitous. The use of Disney Princesses was the highlight of the movie, they were cleverly woven in and, come on, who doesn’t love the Princesses? Plus the fact that they’re all together! On that, the sheer amount of ‘cameos’ is impressive – from Marvel heroes to video game characters, Star Wars, Mickey Mouse and Muppets, a lot of fun can be had finding all the appearances and Easter Eggs.

 

A pretty consistent pace (though there were or two lags) builds up to a nice ending that wraps everything up smartly and with a nice punch of emotion as well. It never felt too saccharine and, really, the depth of focus on the characters was the best way to go. Though, overall, it lacks the charm of its predecessor, Ralph Breaks the Internet is still a very good sequel from the most unlikely of characters.

November 28th 2018

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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