Set (and released) six years after the events of ‘Wreck-It Ralph’, Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) are still the best of friends. They work at their respective games – ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ and ‘Sugar Rush’ – during the day and mess around the arcade at night. However they can’t help but feel a little bored by the routine. Thus, when an opportunity arises for them to go to the internet, they grab it.
Earlier this year, Disney released the highly anticipated sequel to ‘The Incredibles’. While not quite up to Parr (tee hee) with the original, ‘Incredibles 2’ was a hugely enjoyable and worthy sequel, even if we had to wait fourteen years for it. While the non-Pixar Disney feature ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ wasn’t quite as runaway a success, the film was still critically lauded and by no means a box office failure. It garnered a lot of die-hard fans who will undoubtedly be very pleased with the follow-up the House of Mouse has produced.
Ralph and Vanellope’s friendship remains the core of the story and its emotional drive. Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer) and Jane Calhoun (Jane Lynch), now married, are back, but in much smaller roles than before. It’s a shame because their burgeoning relationship was a great addition to the first film. Still, Ralph and Vanellope easily carry the story alone and are supported by some great new characters, including Yesss (Taraji P. Henson), an algorithm who is a pro at internet trends, and Shank, played by Gal Gadot in a clear call-back to her ‘Fast & Furious’ character as she’s a racer in the online game ‘Slaughter House.’
‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ is jam-packed with fun, laughter and feeling. It accomplishes with game characters what ‘Toy Story’ did with toys, and while it recalls ‘The Emoji Movie’ in that its characters explore the internet website-by-website just as the ‘emojis’ explore their mobile phone home app-by-app, the comparisons end there, which is just as well as ‘The Emoji Movie’ is terrible.
There are plenty of winks and nods to the audience, particularly its internet-savvy members, and a nice message about the benefits and downsides of the worldwide web which is subtly communicated to younger viewers. For Disney princess fans – who might have found the games orientation of ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ too ‘boyish’ – a visit to the website OhMyDisney sparks a number of great scenes with the likes of Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Moana, Mulan and more.
As with the aforementioned ‘Incredibles 2’, ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ isn’t quite as good as its predecessor. The finale incorporates this surreal ‘King Kong’-type narrative (you’ll get what we mean when you see it) which is a bit silly, though you can appreciate the sentiment behind it. It pales in comparison to the breath-taking, heart-breaking finale of ‘Wreck-It Ralph’. Still, as far as sequels go, there is a lot to love and its final word on the evolution of friendships will likely have older audiences crying even harder than the kids.