When Wreck-It Ralph released in 2012, I wasn’t a huge fan of the film and therefore, wasn’t very excited for this sequel. What I didn’t expect was to love Ralph Breaks the Internet as much as I did. Ralph and Vanellope are back six years after their friendship initially formed. As Ralph continues to enjoy his simple life, Vanellope starts to crave something more. To make her happy, Ralph carves a new track in her game. His good intentions end up causing Vanellope’s game to break when a child playing the game tries to take control of the car from Vanellope. To keep her game, Ralph and Vanellope must travel into the arcade’s newest installation, the internet. It is in the internet where the story begins to take off and becomes a total blast to watch.
I would argue that the film, while an animated movie, may have more adult content than kid content. The film opens with a joke about body waxing, which I thought was both hilarious, but perhaps questionable for a children’s film. While in the internet, Vanellope and Ralph come across some pretty interesting characters from KnowsMore (Alan Tudyk), the search engine with aggressive auto-fill, Yesss (Taraji P. Henson), the head algorithm at the YouTube-like site, and Shank (Gal Gadot), the head driver of a hardcore racing game. All of these characters further enhance the film and provide a lot of humor. The best character additions for me were the scenes with the Disney Princesses. When Vanellope gets lost in the internet, she needs help finding her way back. She stumbles upon the Disney Princesses. In this hilarious scene where the Disney Princesses talk to Vanellope, we get a very self-aware and self-deprecating moment with princesses where they mock their stories, including reliance on men, singing into reflective water, and more. The casting of the film is splendid. Between all the new characters and John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman continuing to bring the fantastic chemistry from the original film, Ralph Breaks the Internet improves upon the original and will delight audiences, especially the adults.
Of course, the film is chock full of product placement from Twitter and YouTube to SnapChat and more. It can be a bit overwhelming when it first starts in the film, but doesn’t become too distracting from the film.
Along with the product placement, we have a lot of jokes about the internet, viral trends, videos, etc. My concern with this is that it will age the film very quickly. While these trends are hot now, they won’t play well in a few years. I also think at an hour and fifty-two minutes, the film may be slightly long for some children.
What I really appreciate about the film is the way that it tackles some pretty difficult topics. It addresses friendship and our need as humans to grow and evolve, despite the friendships we’ve made in the past. The film also doesn’t tiptoe around the topic of letting go and not being needy and selfish. Accepting change is a difficult thing to do and a difficult thing to teach children and Ralph Breaks the Internet does it in a way that is natural and comprehensible for children. The writing and screenplay by Phil Johnson, Pamela Ribon, Rich Moore, Jim Reardon, and Josie Trinidad are marvelous and one the best animated film stories in a long time.
While Ralph Breaks the Internet is not a perfect film, the messages it sends and the joy and humor that it brings makes it one of the best animated films of the year. Ralph Breaks the Internet is full of laughs for both adults and children making it the ultimate family movie.