Ralph Breaks the Internet
Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston
Screenplay by Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon
Story by Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, Jim Reardon, Pamela Ribon and Josie Trinidad
Starring John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Alfred Molina, Alan Tudyk, Ed O’Neill
“You’ve Got a Friend In Me” milled through my mind as I watched “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” Sure, it’s from another Disney/Pixar movie, but the themes it represents spoke very well to the continuing adventures of Wreck-It Ralph, gleefully voiced by John C. Reilly and Vanellope von Schweetz, voiced by Sarah Silverman.
Litwak’s Family Fun Center & Arcade is home to games such as “Fix-It Felix, Jr” and “Sugar Rush.” Each of the respective characters that inhabit the games meet in a power strip that resembles Grand Central Station. When Vanellope wants a new course to race, Ralph endeavors to give it to her. The users who weren’t expecting the game to have a mind of its own tug and pull on the joystick of the classic game, breaking it.
This results in Mr. Litwak (Ed O’Neill) having to shut the game off because the replacement part is too expensive. At the same time, Mr. Litwak brings his arcade in to the 21st century with a Wi-Fi router giving our heroes access to a much bigger, wider world then they ever imagined.
To put this review in to context, I missed the first “Wreck-It Ralph,” but I found the characters here to be very relatable because they represented the games and films that I grew up with in the 1980’s, so I was never lost.
The new world representing the internet made for an interesting dichotomy with analogue characters in a digital world. The characters that inhabit the Internet are fast paced and humorous, raising themes safety, security, friendship and the dangers of the Internet. Alan Tudyk as KnowsMore the search engine was the funniest of the characters as he helps to speed our characters on their way to their destination. Gal Gadot has a more sensual voice as Shank, the lead driver in “Slaughter Race,” which is where Vanellope spends a good deal of her time. Shank is Vanellope’s equal in the digital world, someone she can rely on and trust in, not that she doesn’t do both with Ralph; but a girl’s deepest secrets are best shared with her equal.
One of the themes that resonated most with me was the need for currency, or real money in the virtual world; something that I think we all take for granted. Johnston’s and Ribon’s script gave rise to how you make money in the virtual world, reminding us of the dangers of getting rich quick schemes, pop-ups, pop-unders and dubious links. They answer this call brilliantly with Taraji P. Henson’s Yesss (no, that’s not a typo). Yesss is an algorithm in the form of a real human, dressed to the nine’s and very quick witted about what’s trending in the moment on BuzzTube.
Whether it’s kittens purring, or some hapless clown who rides a bike off a pier into a cold lake, Yesss is responsible for pushing the content that brings in likes. The object is that the video that gets the most likes will draw in cash. Ralph responds with some nifty tricks.
In the meanwhile, Vanellope and Shank form a solid bond, something that Vanellope cannot let go of and Ralph feels compelled to bring Vanellope back to his side, leading to . . . . you guessed it: “Ralph Wrecks the Internet.”
The film is just a lot of fun, with good humor while reflecting on how we behave within the Internet’s confines, if there are any. The characters that inhabit the virtual world are some of the wackiest and coolest I’ve seen in a while and the digital environment is filled with icons of not only the Internet age, but of Disney properties.
The “princesses” sequence, which has permeated the film’s trailers, is even funnier in the context of the movie. Alfred Molina, who plays Double Dan is perhaps my favorite character in the film. You can learn more about him in our interview with Character Look Supervisor Michelle Robinson.
“Ralph Wrecks the Internet” will please audiences of all ages.
3.5 out of 4 stars.