In 2012, Disney gave us Wreck-It Ralph; the story of a video game villain who sets out on a journey to prove he can be a hero. One of the best of the CG animated Disney library, this film proved that movies about video games are better than movies based on video games. It uses beautiful animation, smart humor, and gleefully nostalgic easter eggs to attract audiences of all ages.
All this is why I didn’t think we needed a sequel at first. It was the first time I watched a movie and really said to myself, “I don’t think I want a sequel. It’s too perfect.” When they announced this one, I had mixed feelings, but was open-minded. The marketing also had me wondering how the final product would turn out. It’s nearly impossible to make a movie with relatable Internet trends because of how quickly they go out of fashion.
Luckily, I don’t judge a film without seeing it.
In Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (I refuse to name it without the subtitle), Ralph (John C. Reilly) now lives a content life as the villain of his game, and spends his free time with Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). When Vanellope’s game Sugar Rush looses a valuable part, she looses her home and her purpose. Wishing to help her, Ralph suggests venturing into the arcade’s new Wi-Fi router to find a replacement. They soon discover that, within the Internet, there’s a whole new world of colorful characters to explore.
Like I said, it’s great that I don’t judge films without seeing them. I may not have been the biggest fan of a Wreck-It Ralph sequel, but because I love the characters, I was willing to give it a fair shot. Now, the best thing that a film (especially a sequel) can do is surprise you. This film may not have been as good as the first one, but it still packs all of the beautiful set pieces and intelligent humor that made me love the first one.
Just like the first Wreck-It Ralph, this one is filled to the brim with tiny easter eggs. As Ralph and Vanellope journey through the Internet, they pass by many existing websites and apps such as Twitter, Fandango, Instagram, and many others. In fact, there are so many that it works on a blink-and-miss formula. It is very easy to miss even the best reference because they whip by so fast. It was very entertaining to see some of my favorite sites make up the background of this film.
As with the first film, this one has some great vocal performances. Reilly and Silverman were once again perfect for their respective characters, while two of the newcomers deliver some of the best performances of their careers; Gal Gadot and Taraji P. Henson. I’m not the biggest fan of the first two on that list, but they were perfectly cast in their roles. Their voices fit well with their character’s personalities.
Probably one of the best scenes in the whole film was Vanellope meeting all of the Disney princesses. The mentions of all of the princess clichés acted as the perfect satire of the various character traits, while at the same time addressing some feminist themes without being too obvious. It was also the perfect way to make fun of the fact that Vanellope is a princess, but not the kind of princess that Disney normally deals with.
However, the best thing about the movie was it’s use and satire of Internet trends. As I said above, it is nearly impossible to use these things in films while they are still relevant. Films take years to develop and make, and these trends are lucky if they survive two months. This movie was probably the best representation of Internet trends of any film to date. It directly used them and made fun of them without feeling forced, or relying on specific ones that have already died out. If there was ever a film for kids that made these things fun to watch, this is it.
Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 doesn’t reach the heights of the first film. It certainly has a stylistic difference from the first film. However, it makes up for this by providing enough consistent laughs and colorful animation to keep audiences of all ages entertained for it’s full runtime.