Ralph Returns to Create Online Chaos in Hilarious and Smart ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’
Anyone who saw Disney’s “Wreck It Ralph” knows that Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is the large bulky villain in the “Fix-it Felix” video arcade game. They also know he doesn’t want to be a villain. He wants to be a hero. And every move he makes towards that goal creates havoc and chaos and makes him even more of a villain. Until, with the help of his newest, bestest friend Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman), he makes things right and achieves his heart’s greatest desire.
Ralph and Vanellope are back in “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” The cozy family-like atmosphere of Litwak’s Family Fun Center and Arcade, the one that comes to life after closing time, is at peace. And Ralph is content. There is nothing he’d rather have or nowhere he’d rather be. Even the somewhat disturbing introduction of the new fangled Wi-Fi can’t pose a threat to Ralph’s happiness. It’s all Ralph talks about.
But such is not the case with little Vanellope. As the star racer of her game “Sugar Rush,” she knows all the tracks and she wins all the time. She wants something more out of her glitch life, and Ralph sets out to help. As in the first film, his help leads to disaster when the player’s steering wheel is broken and the game is unplugged, unemploying all the little Sugar Racers.
Laid back Mr. Litwak seeks to right the problem by purchasing a new steering wheel. But the game is old and the only replacement part available is found on eBay at a price greater than the game is worth. So it’s bye bye “Sugar Rush,” unless Ralph and Vanellope can win the bid, raise the money and save the day. But if the first film tells us anything, it’s not going to be that easy. Especially since Ralph is on the job.
Where the first film treated the audience with cameos from some of the biggest stars of those early arcade games, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” offers up all the popular websites in an amusement park type of atmosphere. Ralph and Vanellope enter the internet through Litwak’s newly installed Wi-Fi and end up in a futuristic-type city, ala “Metropolis,” but with color.
All the buildings represent a different website. All the real life users are represented by little square-headed avatars. Ralph and Vanellope find eBay. They make their bid and then for no reason, keep bidding against each other until they owe eBay a small fortune — one they have to raise quickly.
Much of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is amazingly creative and very funny. Its take on the World Wide Web and transforms a complicated subject to easily understood symbols and icons. A short bespectacled bald man is called KnowsMore (Alan Tudyk). He is the mild-mannered face of Google Search.
One brilliant (and a little disturbing) sequence is when Vanellope ends up at “Oh My Disney.” Housed in a very familiar castle, Disney characters run rampant along with characters from Marvel and Star Wars, reminding us of just how many of our childhood icons now belong to Disney.
Vanellope hangs out with the Disney princesses. She teaches them the value of dressing casually and they teach her the value of singing. Young girls who previously viewed their princesses as heroic might be confused at their vapid portrayals here.
But the usual Disney sweetness is not for Vanellope. She is more drawn to a game called “Slaughter Race,” where gang leader Shank (Gal Gadot) rules a violent street racing underworld.
Unfortunately, the movie, for all intents and purposes, ends long before the end credits begin. With nowhere else to go, it goes big and loud and repetitive. By the end of this film, there’s no missing what the moral is. The story appears conflicted at times as how it’s supposed to consider its parent company. It has its warm fuzzy moments mixed in with some fairly harsh humor.
There’s a lot to follow in its hour and a half running time, but “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is more often than not a smart, fast-paced, hilarious adventure into the world of Internet branding and the meaning of friendship.
“Ralph Breaks the Internet” opens Nov. 20 in theaters nationwide.