“Wreck-it Ralph” introduces the concept of video game characters coming to life in the unique universe of an arcade. Six years after the event of the first film, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” takes the idea one step further, introducing the Internet to our lovable characters, Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman).
The characters have been contained to the games of a small arcade for their whole lives, but when Wi-Fi is introduced, a whole new set of possibilities arises. When Vanellope’s game breaks, Ralph and Vanellope must set out to the Internet and look for a solution. Vanellope enters the game “Slaughter Race,” a popular online racing game, similar to Grand Theft Auto.
There, we meet Shank (Gal Gadot), one of the game’s drivers, who becomes a sister-figure to Vanellope. Ralph begins to question if Vanellope is actually his best friend, and if he is enough for her. Along the way, they encounter the bustling world of Internet-users, pop-up ads, viral videos, Disney princesses, social media giants, and shady dark web dealers.
Unlike “Wreck-it Ralph,” which was full of nostalgia of 80’s video games, the sequel is a discovery of the modern world. The two films together bring adult audiences back to the past, and also keep younger audiences entertained with its jokes and the character’s technological journeys through the Internet.
An animated film’s portrayal of something as vast as the internet was one of the first things I was looking for when watching this movie, and Disney definitely delivers. It converts a seemingly digital platform into something tangible, into a bustling city. Attempts at creating a virtual universe have been done before, very similarly, in “The Emoji Movie.”
The difference between the two is obvious, the plot, the characters, the dynamics, and the overall meaning is expressed creatively and smoothly in Disney’s take. Unlike the previous movie, there isn’t a main antagonist set out to destroy the internet, instead the film plays on Ralph and Vanellope’s friendship in interesting ways.
I loved the animation for this film. Each virtual character is animated hilariously and in a variety of different styles, from characters for “Slaughter Race,” to pop ups, to regular Internet user avatars. When Vanellope visits the Disney website, she meets every Disney princesses, including their respective actors, something that has never happened before.
It was incredible to see generations of Disney princesses come together in one room and one scene with Vanellope. The amount of pop culture references establishes a greater relationship with children watching the film, making it relatable, but not to the point of ‘cringiness.’
Just like its prequel, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is full of jokes and funny moments. You can rely on a film from Disney to be funny. But it’s also action-packed, modern, sweet, light-hearted, and emotional. It explores the overlooked potential from the first film, placing our characters in drastically new situations that the tech-savvy generation can relate to. Even if you aren’t ‘with the times,’ the film encompasses a myriad of themes, from friendship to dealing with our insecurities, to discovering what home really is.
Although the basis of the movie seems simple — Vanellope must retrieve the wheel to fix her game — Disney is able to take that synopsis and spin a tale full of adversities and hope.
Overall, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is a family-friendly, clever, funny, and visually stunning Disney film. It will be in theaters Nov. 21.