Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Rating

Director

Phil Johnston, Rich Moore

Screenplay

Phil Johnston, Pamela Ribon, Rich Moore, Jim Reardon, Josie Trinidad

Length

1h 52m

Starring

JOhn C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, Sean Giambrone, Flula Borg

MPAA Rating

PG for some action and rude humor

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Soundtrack

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Review

The best animated feature of 2012, Wreck-It Ralph, has produced a worthy sequel in the form of Ralph Breaks the Internet, shifting from video game humor to meta-humor with ease and astuteness.

In the prior film, Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) must come to terms with being stuck in the same video game forever, a post that he once took with great joy, but after being labeled a villain for so long and even attending a villain support group, he comes to realize that he can break free of his humdrum existence thanks to his friends, including a effervescent, glitchy sprite from a nearby racing console, Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman).

At the heart of this sequel is the relationship between Ralph and Vanellope who, after having spent so much time together, are hitting a series of rough patches. Vanellope has grown disillusioned with her own video game and while Ralph was able to live with the tedium of his own game, friendship hasn’t assuaged Vanellope’s frustrations. After Ralph decides to try to alleviate Vanellope’s boredom, leading to the accidental breakage of her video game, the pair go in search of the internet where they can buy a new wheel to keep Vanellope from becoming permanently homeless if the standing console is junked.

Vanellope finds refuge in a more dangerous and exciting online video game, which leads Ralph to believe that he will forever lose her as a friend, causing his paranoia and sorrow to risk the entirety of the internet.

As Disney continues to gobble up every major entertainment property in existence, films like Ralph Breaks the Internet are given access to some of their most popular characters, which allows the creators to work them into the narrative in fascinating and creative ways. In this film, not only are there small bits with stormtroopers from Star Wars, the Disney princesses are given a significant pair of scenes in the film. The first, highlighted in the film’s trailer, takes a decidedly feminist stance by mocking the life of a princess. The second, which comes at a significant moment near the film’s climax, is a plethora of brilliant references to the various films from which the princesses come.

A superb array of vocal talents provide wall-to-wall laughs in this incredibly meta-minded animated spectacle. Reilly and Silverman are terrific in their reprised roles, but so too are Gal Gadot as the feisty racing gang leader, Taraji P. Henson as the impresario of what’s in and what’s out on the internet, and Alan Tudyk who trades is villainous role of King Candy in the original for the search engine personification KnowsMore.

Adding in these terrific talents is only a small part of why the film is so successful. The adroit script by directors Phil Johnston and Rich Moore along with Pamela Ribon, Jim Reardon, and Josie Trinidad is incredibly funny without being intellectually insulting, digging into the core essence of the internet and conveying it with sizzling specificity and cunning slyness. Johnston and Moore keep the film moving at a wonderful pace, never letting the audience relax their minds or their funny bones.

Ralph Breaks the Internet may lag behind Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 in terms of Disney/Pixar sequels and runs about even with Incredibles 2 in that respect, but it is the best sequel Disney’s animation division has ever produced and stands firmly among the all time best the entire company has had to offer.

Spoiler Discussion

In the middle of the film, there’s a brief reference to a game where you feed pancakes and milkshakes to either a bunny or a kitten. This bit comes back for the mid-credits sequence and it’s the funniest post-/mid-credits sequence ever made. Stay to the end.

Review Written

March 6, 2019

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