I haven’t watched Wreck-it Ralph (2012) for a few years, but I distinctively remember loving it. Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) was definitely a film I’d been anticipating all year long – and when the critical reception was positive, I got pumped. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I recall loving the first. This film drags for the first half, but is saved by some of the cameos and Sarah Silverman’s character, Vanellope.
Ralph Breaks the Internet tries to reignite the same spark the first film had, but the fire takes too long to get burning
Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Silverman) have been best friends for six years. Everything seems great from Ralph’s point-of-view, but Vanellope is growing a little tired of the same routine. In an effort to make Vanellope’s life a little more interesting, Ralph remodels one of the racetracks in her game. Unfortunately, the best intentions don’t always work out, and Vanellope’s game winds up busted and on its way out the door. The two friends decide to venture into the wild frontier of the Internet in order to find the part needed to repair her game and keep them together.
A major element of the first film that I liked so much was the idea of the villain. Ralph was hated by everyone because he was the “bad guy” in the video game. He just wanted to be loved and almost ruined everything when trying to change who he was to better appeal to the masses. This film has similar lessons, but the major one is unfortunately spelled out in a monologue late in the movie. I’ll leave out all the details here, but it was a shame. It is a kids movie, so maybe they wanted to make sure the young audience would get it…but the events of the film felt like they were easy enough for even some of the younger members to see the values the film is trying to instill.
There were certainly more laughs in the first film, but there are two sequences in this film that are absolutely brilliant. Both involve iconic Disney Princess characters – one of which is partially shown in the trailers for the film. Many jokes and jabs at the tropes in the Princess films are made, and each land perfectly. Plus, seeing these iconic characters together on a big screen in this way is pretty cool. However, it is the later scene that I really appreciated more.
The friendship between Vanellope and Ralph is totally believable, but I found Ralph to be more annoying this time around. He is supposed to be – and if you remember his character from the first film. the change makes sense. Regardless, it didn’t make the film any more enjoyable. Furthermore, it should be noted that I saw it in a fairly crowded theater with a lot of younger kids who can’t follow anything resembling movie etiquette. Thus, I was slightly annoyed but forced to be reasonable that it is a film for kids, and kids will be kids.
Ralph Breaks the Internet wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but it is still solid. There is definitely stuff to appreciate in the film, and fans of the first will like aspects of it. Unfortunately, the shift away from iconic video games and into common internet culture wasn’t as fun for me. I don’t get nearly as excited seeing Twitter or Google on the big screen as I do seeing iconic characters from beloved games. Still, Ralph Breaks the Internet gets the Decent Watch rating.