Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

Wreck it Ralph 2-2.jpgRalph Breaks the Internet (Wreck-It Ralph 2) is the sequel to Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph directed by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore and starring John C. Reily, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch and Alan Tudyk.

Six years after the events of “Wreck-It Ralph,” Ralph (Reily) and Vanellope (Silverman) head to the internet to track down a replacement steering wheel for her arcade game before her game is switched off forever.

Let’s get a few things of the obvious things out of the way first. The animation is outstanding – the colours pop beautifully, the textures are varied and detailed, the scale is outstanding and the character designs are great. The star-studded cast are perfect for their roles and put in fantastic performances (especially Alan Tudyk as KnowsMore).

In terms of new developments, the depiction of the internet is ingenious. The visualisations of the users and the way they interact with websites, pop-ups, adverts and each other is superb. This concept is clearly where the majority of the filmmakers effort was spent and it works much better here than in the Emoji Movie.

The Disney Princesses, heavily featured in the trailers, are the highlights of the film. Their jokes are cutting but hilarious, the uses of their abilities/ talents are fabulously creative and unexpected and hearing all of the voice actors return to their roles is a delight. I would love to see a spin-off film following this team of Disney Princesses in this animation style.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is at its best when it has something to say. The biting Princess jokes, the valuable internet safety lessons (never read the comments, kids), the satirical take on viral sensations and the culmination of Ralph and Venellope’s relationship are all great content.

However, there are two glaring issues that lessens the sequel’s impact. Firstly, the storyline has no real antagonist instead using Ralph’s insecurities as a final boss fight (weirdly making Ralph technically both the protagonist and antagonist) which creates a lack of direction when their initial quest is completed halfway through the movie. Turbo/ King Candy may not have been the most memorable villain but his presence creates consistent hurdles for Venellope and Ralph to overcome and develop as friends. This lack of clear antagonist results in a film that just meanders around as we’re just watching the pair have a series of comedy sketch adventures on the internet, rather than a tightly knit affecting narrative.

The other problem is that there is no B-story. We don’t cut away to Fix-It Felix and Calhoun at any point despite their sub plot being set-up and none of the new characters have any form of arc or development. So for the entire run time we are stuck with just Ralph and Venellope, sometimes together, sometimes separate, which really highlights the meandering nature of the story.

The quality of animation that Disney has been producing since Tangled is staggering and whilst Ralph Breaks the Internet is probably the lesser effort thus far, it’s still easily one of the best animated films of the year and undoubtedly re-watchable.

Ralph Breaks the Internet Cup Rating: 70%
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