John C. Reilly as Ralph
Directed By: Phil Johnston and Rich Moore
Movie Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet
In Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ralph teams up with Vanellope to help her find a replacement part for Sugar Rush after it accidentally gets broken in the arcade. They venture through the new wi-fi portal to find it on the internet, which sets them off on a new journey that expands and changes their world as they know it.
Creating a fully realized version of the internet is no easy feat, as it’s always ever changing. The attention to detail to include as many facets of the internet landscape as possible to tell this story truly captures what that could look like in a very neat way. It’s a seen even in the characters like Yesss (Henson), whose look changes every time we see her to show she’s on trend. The little city hubs representing big online players is totally inventive and how users exist as avatars hilariously nails it.
The world of the internet opens up for viewers of the film as it does for Vanellope and Ralph.
Like the internet has in our real world, the film’s themes tackle the ways that this portal of information and visibility has affected real relationships. Whether it’s friendships or relationships between loved ones like parent/child or online identity creation, Ralph Breaks the Internet explores a lot of the new social media presence challenges we face today. Ralph decides to go viral to help raise the funds to get Vanellope a new wheel before the arcade pulls the plug on her game but at what cost? The moment when Ralph stumbles across the comments section in the film was such a heart sinking moment for everyone in the room who has had to face trolls online. At this point, who hasn’t? Even the way the film presents the challenges of seeing friendships online through Ralph feeling hurt when Vanellope makes friends with Shank (Gadot) and other characters of Slaughter Race, shows how even the simplest exchanges on the platform can lead to feelings of isolation and insecurity when there’s not a balance to how you exist on or offline. The core of the film really goes into the emotional reactions that are experienced in a place that can amplify both the good and bad. It depicts the need to find better ways to navigate through the space for a better experience without self-sabotage and finding ways to nurture relationships one on one.
It’s also great that at no point does Shank ever feel presented as an active antagonist against Ralph’s friendship with Vanellope. No girls are pitted against each other or the leads. Even the scene were Shank and Vanellope race is filled with healthy competition and positive affirmations. The film has the most amazing feminine energy, the Disney Princess scene almost runs away with the movie. Seeing Vanellope interact and befriend them goes way deeper than it being the coolest cameo (of so-so many) ever and can be likened to seeing the Avengers assemble but for Disney Princess fans.
The pacing felt off but probably because of the nature of making a film about the internet. It was almost like each segment lasted maybe a bit too long but that’s due to creating a longer narrative composed from aspects of internet videos that only last a few minutes. The film presented themes about the nature of internet culture that would have been great to see as ongoing adventures on a show to tackle them even further with these characters. Ralph and Vanellope and all of the different characters of their universe would be amazing to see more of. We got so little of Felix and Calhoun and they’re always a riot to see. They’re parenting goals.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is a solid sequel that elevates the fun of the first film and packs a lot of heart. The core relationship between Ralph and Vanellope is so relatable and brought to life by endearing performances from Reilly and Silverman. Getting all the Disney Princess to reprise their roles is such a boss move and bringing in the Fairytale big guns in another creative cameo made me scream in the theater. This movie will give you all of the feels. So much is included! The faces of the best of the internet are represented in thoughtful and fun ways for kids to see themselves reflected on screen. The pool of internet creators is so inclusive and that’s so important to show on a cinematic platform that’ presented one gaze for most of its existence. There are also some amazing on brand gif-moments that will live in internet history.