Animated sequel gets new software You'll LOL to Ralph's latest online adventures
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/11/2018 (1540 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Next month, the movie Deadpool 2 will be released in theatres in a non-R-rated version titled Once Upon a Deadpool in an effort to expand the audience of that raunchy, foul-mouthed superhero movie. They even hired Fred Savage to reprise his role in The Princess Bride as a wrap-around narrative device.
It’s a funny idea, and one that makes one contemplate how Disney could have reversed that dynamic with Ralph Breaks the Internet, the sequel to the 2012 Disney Animation hit Wreck-It Ralph. In the first film, the well-intended 8-bit video-game villain Ralph, voiced by John C. Reilly, throws the arcade world out of whack when he resolves to be a good guy instead of a bad guy. In the sequel, Ralph, accompanied by his best friend Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) exits the arcade where they live a narrow, repetitive existence to sneak through a Wi-Fi portal to explore the huge and unpredictable realm of the internet.
It’s very much a G-rated adventure, which means the movie necessarily ignores the darker side of the net, involving porn, conspiracy theories and racist message boards.
That is as it should be. Nobody wants to see that movie. And yet the central theme of the film is arguably just as inappropriate for kids as, say, 4chan.
The adventure begins with Ralph attempting to do a favour for Vanellope by altering the track of her arcade race game Sugar Rush to give her a break from the same old routine. In the process, the game suffers an equipment failure, and in order to ensure the whole unit doesn’t get sold for parts, Ralph and Vanellope escape to the internet to find a way to acquire a replacement part via eBay.
To raise money, Ralph learns he can monetize “likes” on a YouTube-like service, posting LOL-inducing videos of himself. But at the same time, Vanellope finds herself entranced by a grungy Grand Theft Auto-like game called Slaughter Race ruled by a sexy badass racer named Shank (Gal Gadot). Smitten by this new role model, Vanellope considers moving out of her narrow arcade world to take up residence. Ralph, in a misguided attempt to hold onto his best friend, enlists a spam pop-up (Bill Hader) to throw a digital wrench into Slaughter Race so Vanellope will return to the arcade fold.
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Starring John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman
● Grant Park, Kildonan Place, McGillivray, Polo Park, St. Vital, Towne
● 114 minutes
★★★ out of five
Directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston load the movie with seemingly thousands of gags relating to the internet in general and the Disney internet in particular. (Vanellope sneaks into a site devoted to Disney princesses and takes her place among them based on her affirmative response to the question: “Do people assume all your problems got solved because a big strong man showed up?”)
This is latter-day Disney doing what it does best: simultaneously playing to the kids with big action, slapstick comedy and spectacle while their parents get knowing nods to a more sophisticated adult worldview.
The film leans a little too strongly toward the adult sensibility in its outright mockery of Ralph’s devotion to his friend, exaggerated as a grotesque neediness. If you believe kids are entitled to powerful feelings of attachment, it offers an especially harsh representation of those feelings as outright weakness.
In the movie’s otherwise rich comic portrayal of the online realm, that’s a significant glitch in the program.
In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.
For such a sweet-natured, candy-coloured, family-friendly animated adventure, Ralph Breaks the Internet serves up quite the mega-helping of meta material.
— Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
It’s funny and absorbing, and Moore and Johnston unload some real zingers for the internet age (their interpretation of a comments section will speak to anyone who works on the net, chilling to the bone).
— Kate Erbland, indieWire
While it may not make you as emotional as the first film, it’s a must-see for the amount of cameos it includes, two fun end-credits scenes, and plenty of well-earned laughs for both kids and adults.
— Kirsten Acuna, Insider
What makes the movie compelling, despite the subdued dramatic payoff, is that it is a heightened reflection of our experience — our love affair, really — with our gadgets, our apps and, yes, our brands.
— Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic
Ralph Breaks the Internet might look like just another adorable, funny animated family film, but it also connects to our current reality in ways that are downright bone-chilling.
— Bilge Ebiri, New York Times