The film features the voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson, Gal Gadot, Jane Lynch and Ed O’Neill. Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnson, Ralph Breaks the Internet drops on November 21 in North America and November 30 in the UK.
Ralph Breaks The Internet is in cinemas in North America now. It lands here in the UK on November 30.
Video game bad guy Ralph and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz must risk it all by traveling to the World Wide Web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope’s video game, “Sugar Rush.” In way over their heads, Ralph and Vanellope rely on the citizens of the internet — the netizens — to help navigate their way, including an entrepreneur named Yesss, who is the head algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making site BuzzzTube.
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along to a press screening of Ralph Breaks The Internet. Entering the cinema I expected to see a movie which took everything great about its predecessor and repeated it in a similar fashion. I was sceptical that Disney would be able to recapture the magic of Wreck It Ralph to a degree that would make it satisfying for the grown ups in the audience.
Actually I was completely and utterly mistaken. Within the opening few minutes of Ralph Breaks The Internet it becomes clear that this is not a generic sequel.
The screenplay, by Phil Johnston and Pamel Ribon and based off a story by Johnston, Ribon plus Rich Moore, Jim Reardon and Josie Trinidad, being in earnest. We find Ralph and Vanellope in the familiar settings of the Litwak’s Arcade. The characters have all settled in to a routine following the events of the first movie.
There’s a period of reacclimatisation where we see the worlds of Sugar Rush and Fix It Felix before the film begins it’s journey to the World Wide Web. It’s sufficient enough time for adults to recall the first movie and for kids to remember the joy of Wreck It Ralph.
When things inevitably go wrong for Sugar Rush as the old game breaks down the film really comes to life. The convenient addition of WiFi to Litwak’s opens up literally the entire world to Ralph and Vanellope. What follows is actually as much a character piece as it is a spectacle of a kids movie.
Ralph Breaks The Internet has such a simple story. It’sperfect for this target audience. What stood out for me when the credits rolled (before the best post-credit scene ever in the history of post-credit scenes) was how much I felt for the characters. It’s evocative of the classic Disney era of my childhood but presented in a contemporised way.
Ralph Breaks The Internet easily surpasses the enjoyment factor of Wreck It Ralph thanks to some really carefully crafted comedy. There are the usual jokes for kids, really easy laughs which will leave the grown-ups sniggering. But there is also bucketloads of human aimed squarely at those of us in the audience who are more mature.
When a pop up advert exclaimed that housewives in our town wanted to meet us all the adults in the room were rolling around on the floor with laughter. That is just one example of how cleverly the writers have adapted the internet into a visual mechanism for storytelling.
Making the internet a visually stimulating ‘world’ of its own is a great educational tool for kids. As someone who grew up with the internet watching this it felt like rewatching an old educational school film without being left feeling patronised after.
A perfect example of where the writers dug up some unexpected humour is with the character of Knowsmore. The Ask Jeeves of the Ralph universe. His overly aggressive auto-predict elicited some great laughs from the audience.
Where this movie also succeeds is in growing its cast of characters. Instead of taking the core cast of Wreck It Ralph and putting them all in a new situation only Ralph and Vanellope venture into the internet.
Instead we get a new cast of characters to surround them with. Highlights are easily Gal Gadot’s Shanks and Taraji P. Henson as Yesss. Both help bring the film from the 80s game references to a more contemporary place in the world. Both characters also act as guides to the leads, Shanks to Vanellope and Yess to Ralph, helping push emotional arcs forwards.
For both characters this movie is very much about finding your place in the world. For Ralph that means accepting that he is happy existing in his classic video game, surrounded by the familiar routine. For Vanellope it’s reaching the understanding that there is a whole world outside Sugar Rush that she wants to explore.
In familial terms Ralph Breaks The Internet is about growing up and leaving home. But it’s presented in such a totally perfect way that it’s enjoyable regardless of age.
The animation is top notch, entirely an expected. There’s so much variety in the world of the internet that multiple watches will still warrant new information. Avatars of humans browsing the web are also great. The moments when humans get cut off from the web are also hugely comedic.
Henry Jackman provides a delightful score. Playful without ever taking attention away from visuals of the movie. As with most Disney movies of this calibrate it mixes traditional score with more contemporary pop music perfectly (you can pre-order your copy of the soundtrack here!)
Ralph Breaks The Internet exceeds its predecessor in every way. It’s bigger, brassier and even more comedic. It shuns repetition to become an entirely original entity of its own featuring familiar characters.12