By JW McNay/managing editor
Ralph expands his horizons from the arcade into cyberspace
More clever than a cat meme and more versatile than a viral video, Ralph Breaks the Internet is a worthy sequel that provides solid entertainment for viewers both young and old.
The movie picks up six years after the events of the first movie, Wreck-It Ralph, lining up with the gap between the movies. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman do a good job reprising their roles as Ralph and Vanellope, who have spent the time inside their arcade games and their free hours having fun each day in an endless routine.
Directors Phil Johnston and Rich Moore re-establish the world and its rules early on so viewing the first film beforehand isn’t required. However, the established character relationships allow the sequel’s story to get underway quickly.
Ralph and Vanellope ultimately travel to the world of the internet through a newly installed Wi-Fi router in the arcade. The duo make the trek in search of a replacement steering wheel for Vanellope’s racing arcade game, “Sugar Rush,” otherwise her game will be unplugged.
The theme doesn’t come on strong until the third act and causes a jarring shift in narrative. Ralph does all he can to save “Sugar Rush” from being unplugged, but Vanellope begins to have second thoughts about returning to her game after seeing all the possibilities in the internet.
Ralph hatches a misguided plan to manipulate Vanellope into returning to the arcade rather than staying in the internet, but as the movie title suggests, it doesn’t go as planned which also results in the most interesting visual of the movie. A countless number of mindless Ralph clones join together to make a gigantic, monstrous Ralph avatar hellbent on finding “friendship,” and honestly, it’s a bit creepy.
While the theme does come out clearly by the film’s conclusion, getting there feels a bit off in what is a minor misstep at most.
The internet’s depiction is clever and fun representing well-known elements of cyberspace like eBay and Google as well as fictionalized counterparts such as BuzzTube. Jokes targeting the internet and its culture are funny and on point including many older viewers can appreciate while still providing fun for all ages.
Cameos are abundant as many of the nostalgic video games and characters like Sonic the Hedgehog and Street Fighter II characters are brought back. However, Disney fully makes use of more of its intellectual properties with cameos from Star Wars characters C-3PO, R2-D2 and stormtroopers as well as Baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
But the best cameos, and highlight of the film, are the Disney princesses. Vanellope, a princess herself in her own game, stumbles across them in what’s one of the funniest scenes. The humor is self-aware and takes a series of jabs at the stereotypes of a classic Disney princess.
So, click past any pop-up ads and purchase those tickets for quality laughs and entertainment.