On his journey to become true hero, Wreck-It Ralph first broke the young Princess Vanellope’s heart and then he saved her game by breaking Diet Cola Mountain (I cried in both scenes). Now, Ralph and Vanellope are back in their sequel to once again save the arcade game Sugar Rush… by breaking stuff; Hence the title, Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Six years after the events of Wreck it Ralph, disaster once again threatens Sugar Rush. This time it’s not corrupt programing but rather natural wear-and-tear on the beloved racing game that might be its demise. Ralph and Vanellope therefore venture into the newly installed Wi-Fi to find the part needed to safe their game and restore their world back to the mundane existence Ralph is most comfortable with.
It’s a drastic race against time to complete their mission, however, on their adventure, their ignorance and unfamiliarity of the World Wide Web, tropes and behaviors of internet users, and trending sites and features create more difficulties for Ralph and Vanellope than me learning how to play The Sims (Spoiler Alert… I CAN’T).
The challenges are just getting started as this new expansive world of communication and entertainment causes Vanellope’s mouth to water as she yearns for more out of her life than just running the same race over and over in Candy Rush. Now she must discover if she has a new, more fulfilling place somewhere else… Of if she should condemn herself to the monotonous life in Litwak's Family Fun Center and Arcade hanging out with Ralph…forever.
Is It Any Good? (Grade: A-)
While not as good as the first movie this was an exciting and vibrant adventure to watch. It is visually engaging and very well paced. Feeling like you’re being introduced to the Internet for the first time yourself, your eyes will not stop looking for literal or parody easter eggs in the world Ralph and Vanellope are exploring.
The humor lands and and the pacing if very good. There are some hilarious and insightful commentaries on nearly every aspect of the internet including Search Engines, Adware, Online Dating, Chatrooms, Youtube, Gaming, Ebay, Internet Piracy, “comment fields” and Online Shopping. Everyone “in the internet” is represented by a little boring avatar suggesting how pathetically simplistic we are as little lemmings navigating through the internet, as opposed to the more textured, better animated people shown staring at their mobile devices and computers.
It didn't spend as much time on the secondary characters as would be ideal. There were some new characters introduced as well as some familiar faces from the previous movie. Some of the most engaging characters (particularly the Disney Princesses) deserved a little more time and more development in the story.
It’s a brilliant commentary on our usages of the internet and things that should be considered in our excessive, lifeless hours spent there. More importantly, it’s a thought-provoking story of the difficulties of facing changes in our lives and how our relationships and our happiness are affected by our attitudes towards them.
Is It Okay for Your Kids?
The arcade game “Tappers” makes its appearance again as the favorite place for many characters to unwind after a hard day of enabling games for kids. They all love their ROOT BEER and it’s very clearly slapped in the face of the audience that it’s Root Beer that they’re drinking. There is a small portion of the movie that takes place in a more adult racing game with some more gritty characters with more mature behaviors and appearances. These characters are tough and seem angry and mean. There is a concept of thievery in this game which Ralph and Vanellope get involved in. There is also a short gag, making fun of apps that require you to “Swipe right or left” and Ralph and Vanellope cause a digital creature to explode off camera as a kid watches on their mobile device in horror. I envision small particles of pixelated cubes flying everywhere, not digital gore. But it’s up to the imagination of the audience member.
Any Worthwhile Messages?
There are new dynamics to explore in the friendship between Ralph and Vanellope as he feels nothing but contentment in their life in the arcade and she’s torn by her love and loyalty to her hero and best friend, Ralph, and her need for a life of excitement and challenge. This movie explores these two polar-opposites in domestic needs and social comforts and I could see myself on both sides. Some people, like myself, struggle with change, while others thrive on it. The brilliance in this story is how it’s able to pull your heartstrings as you watch both characters offer sacrifices and compromises for the others happiness… and somehow try to make peace with it all. This is very real as people including children separate and part ways throughout life. Those partings are sometimes by choice but sometimes they aren’t. This is a great lesson to consider for any audience member, young or old.
Internet Usage, Moderation in Technology
There are a lot of examples of ways people use the internet including asking questions. But there is also a massive portrayal of how we can waste our time playing games, taking surveys, or mindlessly browsing whatever random thing appears in front of us on our screen.
Love the princesses in Ralph Breaks the Internet? Get more Cinderella in the excellent Ever After! Rent or buy here.
Tim Wilde is currently studying film at the Salt Lake Community College. As a single father who was a failure in bequeathing his love of movies onto his children, he has taken to the internet as co-creator and co-host of Saints on Cinema, a YouTube channel devoted to discussing and reviewing film from the perspective of Latter-day Saints and other various guests.