Thoughts On Ralph Breaks The Internet!

Wreck It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet is of course the sequel to the 2012 hit Wreck it Ralph. Returning from the original film are the cast including John C Reilly as Ralph, Sarah Silverman as Vanellope, Jack McBrayer as Fix It Felix, and Jane Lynch as Commander Calhoun. New cast include Taraji P. Henson (Empire) as social media program Yesss, and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) as a game street racer named Shank. Rich Moore returns as director as he is joined by one of the writers from the first film and now co-director Phil Johnston. Pamela Ribbon joins Johnston as co-writer for this sequel. 

Though both Ralph Breaks the Internet and its predecessor have Ralph as the titular character and his character does have the most growth, Vanellope has an engaging and relatable journey of her own. The writing for their respective characters really makes sense. Ralph’s game was created in the late 70’s/early 80’s so it makes sense for his character to be simpler minded with basic goals because his programming was quite basic at the time of his inception. Then looking at Vanellope, whose game Sugar Rush was likely released in the late 90s, will not only have more advanced programming but also came about when the phrase girl power was
very popular.

In Ralph Breaks the Internet, Vanellope’s dissatisfaction with the status quo is what catapults the story. While scouring the internet Ralph and Vanellope come across an online street racing game called Splatter place in which the races are far more dangerous and thus more challenging than anything Vanellope experienced in Sugar Rush. There the duo meets Shank, leader of the extreme street racers, who Vanellope instantly develops a competitive friendship with which stems from a professional respect. The two become friends and elevate each other which provides a truly positive message for young women.

The best scene hands down in the film is when Vanellope makes a trip to the site Oh My Disney and meets the Disney Princesses. They take her in because Vanellope as we learned in the first Wreck it Ralph is Princess Vanellope Von Schweets. She even gets her own Disney Princess Reflective song provided by none other than the great Academy Award Winner Alan Menken whose song “A Place Called Splatter Race” manages to be both fun and introspective, as only Maestro Menken can do.
But Vanellope is a different kind of princess. In the scene, each of the princesses provides a bit of their backstories which include being friends with rodents, poisoned by an apple, trading a voice for legs, and so on. The pacing and rapid-fire dialogue in this scene plays as brilliant comedy especially since its Disney poking fun at themselves. And then Vanellope shows how different she is again by getting the princesses to trade in their gowns for comfortable attire and encouraging them to stand up for themselves. This encouragement plays out later when the princesses come to aide Vanellope in the third act for another one of the best scenes.

Whereas the gimmick of the first Wreck it Ralph was life in an arcade and used characters and graphics of arcade games and reached into the realm of nostalgia, Ralph Breaks the Internet uses the gimmick of the internet. Instead of seeing a small tight knit group of characters closed off from the world, we are introduced to a whole new realm as the film digs into how the internet works both on a comedic nuts and bolts level as well as its real effect on society. How “trending” works was a particularly deep dive into how the internet can become truly insane as it connects and divides people. And while it is always fun to see what the creative minds at Disney conjure up in the worlds they create it is, as always, the themes which really touch and elevate the stories. And, like the first film, Ralph Breaks the Internet is about friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice. By the end of the film important lessons will have been learned, but I can’t guarantee the result won’t break your heart.

Jesse Delia