The visuals of 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' are worthy of praise alone, and the wacky plot is highly enjoyable.
At a time when most new cinema releases are sequels or prequels of some kind, especially in the Disney Universe, we often question whether they’re necessary – do we really need a Toy Story 4? (Of course we do, don’t be ridiculous.) Especially with the torrent of live-action remakes of the classics the studio is producing right now, we need a modern-day hero to show us that sequels are not always a bad thing. Buzz and Woody, step aside; Wreck-It-Ralph is here to save us.
Ralph Breaks the Internet, the sequel to the 2012’s Wreck-It-Ralph, is a delightful, colourful adventure with some of Disney’s most underrated characters. Following the events of the first film, Ralph (John C. Reilly) is now loving life, having finally become friends with the characters in the arcade game where he lives, ‘Fix-It Felix Jr.’, as well as spending all of his free time with his new best friend, Princess Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). However, Vanellope is not quite so happy in her racing game, ‘Sugar Rush’, growing bored as she now knows every track and every short-cut like the back of her hand (we’ve all experienced this with Mario Kart, let’s face it). When her game breaks, though, she and Ralph set off to the new-fangled internet in order to save it by purchasing a new part for the game from eBay. The plot and concept sound fairly absurd, but if you’ve seen the first Wreck-It-Ralph, you’ll know that Disney absolutely make it work.
The visual concept for the Internet is stunning: every real-life person on the internet is represented by cube-shaped avatars, reminiscent of 8-bit game characters. They travel around the internet in futuristic moving pods to different websites, representing what the real person is seeing on their browser. The physical incarnation of each website was great fun, with Instagram set up like an art gallery and eBay a giant auction house. As Ralph and Vanellope enter this world, any flaw or plot hole we could imagine arising is dealt with, and the sphere is slick and impressively done. The best website representation is by far Oh My Disney, a real website devoted to, and full of, Disney fans. As we enter the site in the film, we feel as though we’ve just stepped into a crossover between Disney World and a D23 expo. As Demi Lovato’s ‘Let It Go’ blasted in the background, there are meet and greets with characters, a backstage ‘Cast Members Only’ section, and even a Q&A with Groot.
Of course, anyone who has seen a teaser trailer for the film will remember Vanellope’s encounter with the Disney Princesses; there are a few Princess moments throughout the film, and they are everything we could’ve wanted and more. Not taking itself too seriously, Disney flips the conventional take on the Princesses on its head, questioning why they burst into song or why they are expected to wait for a man to save them. Without venturing too far into the feminist realm, it strikes a perfect balance between humour and actually sending a good message to young viewers. And it’s not the only message found in this film. As well as being the fun Disney movie we all expect it to be, Ralph Breaks the Internet sends out important messages to young and old viewers alike about staying safe on the internet and making sure it doesn’t take a toll on our mental wellbeing. The dangers of insecurities leading to toxic relationships and knowing how to be a good friend are also heavy themes in the film, and though this may sound cheesy it actually makes for some very poignant moments.
Though the messages are necessary and useful, they do not detract anything from the film, and make it a more worthwhile watch if anything. Whether you’re young or old, into video games and the internet or not, Ralph Breaks the Internet is an enjoyable experience for everyone.
Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018), directed by Phil Johnson and Rich Moore, is distributed in the UK by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, certificate PG.