In 2018, Disney gave us a sequel that apparently people wanted to see. I was never a fan of the first Wreck-It Ralph film, so I wasn’t enthusiastic about a sequel. Nevertheless, I checked out this sequel directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston in theaters! Did I feel that Ralph Breaks the Internet was a better film than its predecessor? Read to to find out!
WARNING: There will be spoilers!!
The film takes place six years after the events of the first film. Video game “villain”, Ralph (voiced again by John C. Reilly), and video game “star”, Vanellope, (voiced again by Sarah Silverman), are still best friends. They hang out daily and do everything together. Ralph enjoys this life, but Vanellope is getting tired of the monotony and yearns for something more.
However, she soon faces a new problem when her game, Sugar Rush, is unplugged after one of the controllers breaks. After overhearing one of the human kids mention it, Ralph gets an idea to go into the Internet to a site called “eBay”. There, he will buy a replacement controller thereby saving Sugar Rush and keeping his best friend happy! Vanellope loves the idea, but as the two enter the World Wide Web, their friendship and dreams are challenged.
I’m not going to mince words; I wasn’t a fan of this film overall. I found it too modern, gimmicky, and unrelatable for my personal tastes. I also found it somewhat confusing at times! For example, while Ralph and Vanellope are in the Internet, we see many popular websites like Google and YouTube, yet somehow Ralph and Vanellope utilize Disney-fied versions of both sites via KnowsMore (voiced by Alan Tudyk) and BuzzzTube, run by the algorithm, Yesss (voiced by Taraji P. Henson).
Why couldn’t they have just gone to Google and YouTube? Was it for copyright reasons? I feel the mere fact that both already existed in this film was proof that they weren’t infringing on any copyright. And Ralph and Vanellope have a whole scene inside eBay, so it’s not like getting copyright permissions would have been extremely hard to acquire if they didn’t have them.
Also, the first film seemed to be promoting the idea of video game characters having a purpose in their own games and that jumping to another game is frowned upon, at the very least. In this film, Vanellope is mesmerized by the tough racing game, Slaughter Race, led by Shank (voiced by Gal Gadot) and her gang, that she wants to become part of the game herself! She justifies it by saying that nobody will miss her from Sugar Rush, but again that didn’t seem to be the main reason why game-jumping was frowned upon in the first film. So unless I’m missing a particular nuance, it just seems odd to see the two films spewing differing messages.
And speaking of messages, the climax of the film deals with Ralph’s insecurities of his friendship with Vanellope. He fears he’ll lose her and this fear causes him to almost destroy her and much of the Internet. So the message seemed to be something along the lines of “trust in your friendships”. Now maybe I’m not getting it, but this message seemed to just fly right over my head! Is this such a big epidemic in the world that it had to be the main message of the film? Maybe I’m just blessed in my friendships, but I’ve never felt “controlled” by a friend or felt that I was “controlling” any of my friends, so I found it very hard to relate to this message. I’m not disparaging the message; I’m just saying it was one of the hardest messages in a film for me to relate to.
And no review of this film would be complete without a mention of the infamous Disney Princesses scene(s)! While the idea of bringing all the Disney Princesses together is a cool one, there were still some things I disliked about this CGI gathering. One of my biggest grievances was the implication made that Belle was “kidnapped or enslaved” by the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.
So what did I like about the film? Well, I enjoyed the technological themes throughout the film: a basic demonstration of how WiFi and the Internet work, a look at the addictiveness and viles of social media, the fleeting lifespan of online fame, a basic demonstration of how viruses and denial-of-service attacks work, and how parts of the Internet can go extinct.
I liked how the Disney Princesses were annoyed by the complaints made against them that they were all saved by “big strong men”. I liked KnowsMore, J. P. Spamley (voiced by Bill Hader), and the Eboy (voiced by Sean Giambrone), who is hands-down my favorite character in the film!
I also liked how it’s the power of therapy that saves the day in the end.
Summing up, I have a lot of complaints about this film and was overall disappointed with it. I know many people really loved this film, even more than its predecessor. I, on the other hand, will be in no big rush to rewatch this film anytime soon.