Film Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Ralph Breaks the Internet
Directed by: Phil Johnston, Rich Moore
Written by: Pamela Ribon, Phil Johnston
Starring: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch

Review by Stephanie Cooke

Ralph Breaks the Internet, the sequel to Wreck It Ralph, is here and the cast is back for an all-new story. This time, as the title suggests, Ralph and Vanellope are off to the internet!

Vanellope’s Sugar Rush game is broken and , arcade owner Mr. Litwak decides he’ll have to unplug the game and scrap it for parts – the replacement parts are too much money. Ralph and Vanellope decide to head to the internet to acquire the parts themselves and give Vanellope, and the other characters from the game, their home back. They discover a whole new virtual world, and overwhelmed with everything before them, set out to try to make money and save Sugar Rush. They both get a crash course in everything to do with the internet with the young Vanellope adjusting to it much quicker than Ralph, who is very set in his ways.

Along the way, they meet new friends and acquaintances who try to help them save the day, and perhaps change their lives for good, like the dangerous Slaughter Race racer, Shank (voiced by Gal Gadot).

While I’ve heard some of my fellow critics state that Ralph Breaks the Internet isn’t as good as its predecessor, I’m on the fence. I think they’re largely two very different films that tackle very different messages. Both, however, find ways to get their respective messages out incredibly well and I was thoroughly impressed with how it was all packaged.

In the first film, Vanellope has to come to terms with who she is and embrace herself to find happiness. In the sequel, the focus is on Ralph breaking (no pun intended) a cycle of insecurity that stems from who he felt he was perceived as before he met Vanellope. It’s not just something worked in as the characters continue on their journey but rather it’s integrated directly into the story itself in a smart way that makes it impossible to ignore.

It’s maybe unsurprising that the film is emotional and tugs on your heartstrings as Ralph and Vanellope have to make tough choices about their futures and learn what it is to care strongly about someone. It’s no tearjerker like, say, Pixar’s Inside Out, but the honest moments that the characters share during the course of the film definitely had me emotionally invested.

As mentioned, there are definitely a lot of strong and loud messages being thrown at you during the course of the film. Some of them will find them “in your face” and maybe off-putting but I think most will appreciate the blatant way that the film talks about insecurity and toxicity in relationships. I mean, it’s no secret that the internet can be a not-so-wonderful place. People are awful and as Yesss (voices by Taraji P. Henson) says in the film, “Don’t read the comments” remains very sound advice. Having a very mainstream family film that will elevate messages of kindness and healthy friendships may not resonate with some but for others, it will start a very positive conversation.

In a time following movements of mass hatred around the world, it may one of the films that we need to show youngsters to help them learn to be better people, especially when it comes to those around them.

Verdict:

See it! I really enjoyed Ralph Breaks the Internet with its earnest attempt at bettering its viewers, it also manages to be a whole lot of fun with a big dose of humour. If you liked the first film, its sequel does not disappoint and brings a fresh new story that delivers exactly what I wanted.

Warning: the Disney Princesses may very well turn out to be your favourite characters. Every scene with them, they stole the show and I was left wanting an entire film of their group dynamic.

WHERE THE HECK IS MY DISNEY PRINCESSES MOVIE BASED ON THE VERSIONS OF THE PRINCESSES IN THIS?! Because I would genuinely be shocked if it wasn’t in the works. Shocked and upset. VERY upset…

One final thing: why is this movie not called Ralph WRECKS the Internet? This is a serious question. Help me understand. Disney, call me.

Stephanie is a Toronto based writer and editor. She's a comic book fan, avid gamer, movie watcher, lover of music, and sarcasm. She is a purveyor of too many projects and has done work for Talking Comics, JoBlo.com, Agents of Geek, Word of the Nerd, C&G Magazine, Dork Shelf, and more.Her writing credits include "Home Sweet Huck" (Mark Millar's Millarworld Annual 2017), "Lungarella (Secret Loves of Geek Girls, 2016), "Behind Enemy Linens" (BLOCKED Anthology, 2017), "Home and Country" (Toronto Comics Anthology, 2017) and more to come. You can read more about her shenanigans over on her personal web site.

Stephanie Cooke

Stephanie is a Toronto based writer and editor. She's a comic book fan, avid gamer, movie watcher, lover of music, and sarcasm. She is a purveyor of too many projects and has done work for Talking Comics, JoBlo.com, Agents of Geek, Word of the Nerd, C&G Magazine, Dork Shelf, and more.Her writing credits include "Home Sweet Huck" (Mark Millar's Millarworld Annual 2017), "Lungarella (Secret Loves of Geek Girls, 2016), "Behind Enemy Linens" (BLOCKED Anthology, 2017), "Home and Country" (Toronto Comics Anthology, 2017) and more to come. You can read more about her shenanigans over on her personal web site.

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