‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’, the much anticipated follow-up to 2012’s ‘Wreck-It Ralph’, brings back the pleasure of watching Wreck-it Ralph (voiced by John C Reilly), the arcade game villain with monstrous hands but a kind soul, and his pint sized side-kick Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman), a motor race game driver. Their first adventure happened within the world of video games, as Ralph, fed up with his sorry existence as an unlikable villain, ventured to get himself a ‘medal’ that would earn him a hero-like respect. The second adventure propels Ralph and Vanellope in a strange new world of ‘the Internet’. Compared to the somewhat niche circle of video games, the Internet provides an extravagant otherworldly appeal, and fishes for hilarity out of relevant materials associated with our daily web consumption.
It all starts when the arcade, where Ralph and Vanellope exist with other fellow video game characters, installs a WIFI router. Ralph is pretty used to his routine video game life but Vanellope is bored to death racing the same levels of Sugar Rush over and over again. As chance would have it, their normalcy is threatened one day and to make things go back to normal, they get themselves into a fish-out-of-water situation by diving into the sea of unknown that is the Internet.
The director duo of Phil Johnston and Rich Moore are highly creative in bringing Internet to life. They distill the complexity of building a landscape of virtual reality by giving it humanistic character strokes. They give feelings to pop-ups, search engines and viruses—and touch trickier territory like the ‘dark web’ with a light hearted treatment. The screenplay mashes up many genres but comes out clean as a well thought out character journey for both Ralph and Vanellope. Ralph Breaks the Internet is in equal parts a road movie, a fish-out-of-water movie and a buddy movie.
Apart from the main cast, some new characters that impress are Yesss (voiced by Taraji P Henson), the head algorithm of a viral video content sharing site called BuzzTube, and Shank (voiced by Gal Gadot), a player in a racing game called Slaughter Race. Yesss catapults Ralph’s internet popularity by turning him into memes and making him do reaction videos. And Shank takes over as Vanellope’s new BFF, putting her friendship with Ralph in jeopardy.
The plot may have been designed to throw our central characters in a wild goose chase but the thematic fabric of Ralph Breaks the Internet focuses on the dynamics of their friendship. In the classic animated film style, the movie is aptly able to sell the idea that relationships change over time and sometimes the best thing to do is not to latch on to things you love the most but to let them go.
This film is lush, bright and mostly nostalgic, and right up along the likes of ‘The Incredibles’ and ‘Inside Out’ in delivering emotional punches. It is on-the-nose with all the in-house Disney jokes but it gets away by treating these sequences as self-parody instead of self-promotion. The feel good nature and the ease with which the characters evoke empathy make it a family entertainer that shouldn’t be missed at any cost
Who should watch it?
‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ guarantees a fun time for parents and kids alike. You don’t need to know anything about the first movie to enjoy this second movie in the Wreck-it Ralph universe. It’s the kind of animated flick that hits home its moral message without being sugary or overtly simplistic.
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
CAST: John C Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P Henson