TL;DR – A solid family film,with some great moments, but I am not sure it will have the same impact as the first film.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene
Creating films about the internet is something we are seeing more of as filmmakers try to incorporate this major part of our lives into the cinematic landscape. However, because the Internet is something that is both instantly familiar but also completely abstract, it actually is a difficult task to pull off as long as you don’t mind adding a crane shot into a cable. In the last year or so we have had the bad with The Emoji Film, and the amazing with Searching (see review), and today we have another entry into the genre with Ralph Breaks the Internet, which while not amazing, is still a fun ride.
Soto set the scene, at the end of Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) worked together to save the arcade from malicious code. Vanellope discovered she was not a glitch, but a core part of the game and Ralph discovered just because he is a bad guy, does not mean he has to be a bad guy. It has been six years and everyone in the arcade has fallen into the new rhythm where by day the go towork in their machines and by night they all hang out. But it is starting to get a bit monotonous, so Ralph helps Vanellope out by building a new course for her to race on. However, she gets so caught up in it that she breaks the steering wheel for her game in the real world. The are no replacements from the company coming and the spare part is oo expensive online, so Mr Litwak (EdO’Neill) does the only thing he can and pulls Sugar Rush’s plug. Now everyone has a week to fix the problem before the arcade cabinet is taken away for scraps. Well luckily, the arcade just installed Wi-Fi and well it is time to escape the confines for the World Wide Web.
The first thing I want to talk about is the level of detail in the animation of this film. I mean you can see the frayed edges on Ralph’s shirt. Like they did not need to add them there, and you might not even notice them, but it helps build the character. Also since the film is dealing with characters from all sorts of different genres and periods of video game history, it gives them the flexibility to have some really interesting design and animation choices. Also, we have car chases, action sequences, even full zooms through the internet and it all looked amazing. Though I would say that the design of the movies ‘big bad’ was more than a little disconcerting.
This film has the unenviable job of taking the abstract internet and creating it into a world that feels both real, but understandably the internet. It is here where I think the design team has done a really good job, in what was a very difficult task. It also means that this film is filled, I mean filled with Easter Eggs, that I am sure even after multiple viewings you will still befinding more. As well as this, they did an interesting job about hinting at the side of the internet that is not maybe suitable for a kid-friendly film, like the ‘Dark Web’ while still keeping everything in the same tone. I did fear that this was going to be a bit too Disney pushing all of its Disney franchises in your face-y.However, the House of the Mouse was actually quite restrained here, though I am 100% sure those comfy shirts the princess all got will be merch that they will be selling this Christmas.
Where it also excelled, was in the story and themes it was exploring, but to look at those we need to have a slight [SPOILER] warning. Ralph Breaks the Internet is more about how Ralph breaks his own friendships through his insecurity and inability to let go. With people moving on in their lives while he wants everything to stay the same. I mean that is a heavy concept to add into a kid’s film, but it also is an important one. It is also looking at some of the more problematic parts of the internet, how algorithms drive content and the reality of what it is life down in the comments.
This is also supported by some really strong voice acting that brings it all together. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman still work amazingly as a team bouncing off each other with their performances. I really liked what Gal Gadot brought to the role of Shank, who is someone who has different personas between her in-game character and real self and Gal really brings that out. Also, you have to respect the attention of detail to get as many of the original voice cast for the Disney Princess as possible to appear in the film. Though I would have like to see Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch get a bit more to do in the film other than being there to make jokes for the parents in the audience.
In the end, do we recommend Ralph Breaks the Internet? Yes, yes we do. I’m not sure it hit the heights of the first film, but it is well made, it is telling an interesting story, and if you are a parent that needs to take their kids to the cinema over Christmas, trust me you can do a lot worse. Though as long as you don’t have young kids you need to deal with, make sure you stay around to the end of the credits for the final scene.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV,he’ll be talking about International Relations,or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Ralph Breaks the Internet
Directed by – Rich Moore & Phil Johnston
Story by – Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, Jim Reardon, Pamela Ribon & Josie Trinidad
Screenplay by – Phil Johnston & Pamela Ribon
Music by – Henry Jackman
Cinematography by – Nathan Detroit Warner & Brian Leach
Edited by – Jeremy Milton
Starring – John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, Roger Craig Smith, Maurice LaMarche, Bill Hader, Flula Borg, Hamish Blake, Ali Wong, GloZell Green, Timothy Simons, Sam Richardson, Phil Johnston, Raymond S. Persi, Rebecca Wisocky & Sean Giambrone with Jason Mantzoukas, Tim Allen, Anthony Daniels, Vin Diesel, Michael Giacchino, Brad Garrett & Corey Burton and Jennifer Hale, Kate Higgins, Jodi Benson, Paige O’Hara, Linda Larkin, Irene Bedard, Ming-Na Wen, Anika Noni Rose, Mandy Moore, Kelly Macdonald, Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Auliʻi Cravalho & Pamela Ribon
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: G; Germany: na; New Zealand: na; United Kingdom: PG; United States: PG