It’s been six years since we last saw Ralph and Vanellope, and 15 years since there’s been an animated sequel for a Disney animation. Seeing that it is rare for Disney to give their animated movies a sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet goes to show that they really believed in this film and I’ve got to say, they certainly made the right choice. Before watching the movie, I was a little nervous about Wreck it Ralph getting a sequel. Personally, I felt as if the story was complete, but boy was I wrong.
This new adventure brings Ralph and Vanellope to this newfound world of the internet in order to search for a replacement part for her game, Sugar Rush. The interpretation of the internet looked and acted by directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston was genius. I really appreciated the various easter eggs and subtext that was layered throughout the various scenes pertaining to the world wide web. It allowed them to build a whole new world with something that many are already familiar with, while bringing in some Disney fun from past and present to appease movie-goers young and old. However, one of the best parts about bringing Ralph and Vanellope into a new story by placing them in a bigger universe like the internet, was that it really helped develop the characters, especially Vanellope. As her story focuses on not being satisfied with how her life is currently at a stand-still, it speaks to something about Vanellope which is relatable to many people.
Not only were the concepts within the film great, but the voice acting from the cast of Ralph Breaks the Internet really blew me away. Although Taraji P. Henson has done voice acting in the past, this was her first time voicing a new character in a major film. I thought her character YESSS was one of the best parts of the movie and she really helped the story progress. YESSS also had some very relatable moments that I and most people who use the internet would definitely understand.
Another newcomer to the Ralph’s and Vanellope’s world, was Shank. Voiced by Wonder Woman star, Gal Gadot, I was pleasantly surprised with Shank’s importance and how much screen time she got. Before I saw the movie, I just assumed it would be a small cameo but it was much more. Shank is the main character of an online game known as Slaughter Race, and it definitely seems that the character – who is a badass rebel street driver – is an awesome callback to her character from the Fast & Furious franchise. Although this movie is for all audiences, Gadot’s character felt a bit mature for the regular kid, but it was a smart tactic because Vanellope looks to Shank like an older sister. Shank and Vanellope had some hilarious scenes together and I thought Gadot’s voice acting was impressive. Hopefully, it won’t be the last time we see Shank and her crew.
Finally we have the film’s stars: Sarah Silverman and John C. Reilly. Even though it’s voice acting, you could tell how amazing the chemistry is between Silverman and Reilly. I remember at the press conference, Reilly said that just like the movie his and Silverman’s friendship has also grown over the last six years, and that had a huge impact on how they approached returning to the characters. This time around, Ralph’s character could be seen as the antagonist of the movie. As Ralph didn’t want to lose his best friend he was willing to do anything to make sure Vanellope remained by his side, regardless of any consequences to himself or Vanellope. If you revisit the last line from the first movie, you’ll realize that Ralph still had an incredible amount of self-growth he had to undergo to truly be a good person.
Of course, I can’t wrap up this review without talking about the epic princess sequence that was teased in the trailer. The sequence will probably go down as one of the best scenes in Disney movie history (as it should). The Disney princesses concept has gone through many revamps over the years to accurately portray elements that girls can relate to today, and not the played out stereotypes that some of the princess stories relied upon in the past. The writers did not shy away from addressing said stereotypes and made an effort to acknowledge them in a hilarious way. There is another scene later in the film where the princesses come to the aid of Ralph and Vanellope that is equally as epic. It was pretty cool to see Vanellope get inducted into the Disney Princess family.
Despite all the great things about Ralph Breaks the Internet, the movie gets slightly derailed in the middle act, but it’s easier to look past is because you’ll likely be focusing on all the Disney easter eggs and nostalgia throughout. However, attempting to fit all of it into one movie, did hinder it a small amount. That being said, overall I think Ralph Breaks the Internet definitely lives up to the hype of its predecessor and I really appreciated the messages this movie told. Whether you’re a little kid or an adult, this movie will speak to you about the impact of a toxic relationship, the dangers of co-dependency and that while the internet is a great tool, it is also something that we all should learn to wary of at times.
But don’t worry, it’s not all gloom and doom. The film also shows that good friendships may require sacrifices, in order for you to let your friend flourish to their full potential and achieve their dreams. As Shank says, “There’s no law that says best friends have to share the same dreams”, but to be a good friend, you should always truly support your friends in theirs.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is in theaters now! Be sure to check it out, you won’t regret it.