REVIEW — “Ralph Breaks the Internet”
Long-awaited sequels to beloved films are always hard to pull off. On top of having to deliver a film that is a worthy sequel to its predecessor, it usually has to be so good that it justifies the long wait between each film. 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph was a wonderful, hilarious, and heartfelt delight that brought together an unlikely friendship between Ralph and Vanellope by the end – six years later we have Ralph Breaks the Internet, which picks up with Ralph and Vanellope as close as ever. Ralph is perfectly content with his life and feels no need to change his way of living ever since embracing who he is. Vanellope, however, feels a bit trapped by her place in her game, Sugar Rush. When a kid at Litwak’s Arcade accidentally breaks the controller for Sugar Rush and the game gets shut down for maintenance, Ralph and Vanellope venture into the Internet in order to get a controller through eBay.
Once Ralph and Vanellope get into the Internet, the film really finds its groove and it becomes so darn entertaining to watch these characters go from site to site and run from several different social media sensations and pop culture icons. One of the most heavily advertised sequences in the marketing campaign for this has been the Disney section, where Ralph and Vanellope come across many beloved characters from countless Disney properties. The highlight, of course, is Vanellope getting to interact with all of the Disney princesses, and all of the meta jokes that spawn from that interaction. I can honestly say that the extended sequence with the princesses is the funniest scene I’ve seen in any film this year. And they haven’t even spoiled the best jokes in the trailer!
The setting of the internet provides an endless supply of laughs that will amuse just about anyone who has ever ventured online. But where this film really succeeds is when it focuses on the relationship between Ralph and Vanellope. While they go on the internet to save Sugar Rush and get back to Litwak’s in a certain amount of time, Vanellope becomes conflicted due to an early-on interaction in an online game called Slaughter Race, where she meets a talented driver named Shank (Gal Gadot) who she begins to look up to. This opens the film up for a genuinely solid message about friendship at its core. In the age of social media, the film wisely doesn’t demonize it, nor glorify it. There are plenty of jokes that are made at the expense of the ridiculousness of social media and how we blindly “like” or “love” things and how that fuels egos (a character named Yesss played by Taraji P. Henson inhabits this entirely), but it also lovingly shows how this great, big place can always keep friendships intact, no matter how far away you may be from your best friend.
I think this is a great message to include in a family film. Not only to let kids know that friendships can stay intact even when you are far away from one another, but that it’s okay for friends to have separate ideas and goals for life. It’s an already great message to include in this film, but the film goes the extra mile to have it be extremely well written and nuanced as well. Vanellope and Ralph are already great characters, but Ralph Breaks the Internet does a fantastic job at exploring them and their friendship even further. From the sincere emotion, gorgeous animation, and genuinely witty humor at hand – Ralph Breaks the Internet is a film that is just as good as its predecessor and avoids all the tropes and downfalls that most sequels often succumb to.