Ralph Breaks the Internet Spoiler-Free Review
It has been an unwritten rule by Disney to only purse a sequel if the story is strong enough to warrant going back. In 1990, The Rescuers Down Under became the first Walt Disney Animation sequel to be given a theatrical release, a distinction it later (somewhat) shared with the indirect sequel Fantasia 2000. And now, a new contender for the best Disney sequel has come in the ground-breaking, universe-expanding follow up to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Picking up six years after Wreck-It Ralph, life is pretty good for video game bad guy Ralph, although a bit monotonous for his best friend and Sugar Rush racer Vanellope Von Schweetz. When an attempt to liven up her daily routine leads to Sugar Rush breaking and facing an almost certain unplugging, Ralph makes it his mission to find the part needed to fix the video game and bring their lives back to normal. And the only place to find the part happens to be the mysterious Internet! Ralph and Vanellope then embark on an epic journey into the infinite technological utopia of the Internet, in search of the missing part and the money to pay for it. Along the way, they see the highs and the lows of the World Wide Web, from the flashy BuzzTube algorithm Yesss to the criminal virus-dealer Double Dan in the “Dark Net.” Vanellope then has to make the decision of whether or not she belongs back in Sugar Rush or the crazed, violent Internet racing game Slaughter Race, and Ralph evaluates what he’s prepared to do to keep his best friend from leaving him and the arcade.
In one fell swoop, Ralph’s universe is expanded from the low-rent arcade world to the vast and bright version of the internet, and it is done seamlessly thanks to the great direction of Rich Moore and Phil Johnston, the duo who previously made the first film, as well as the equally city-centric Disney film Zootopia, proving their world-creating abilities. There are Easter Eggs and cameos hidden in every nook and cranny of the film, demanding repeat viewings to find them all. And of course, the stars of the cameos are the Internet versions of the Disney Princesses, voiced by the same cast as previous incarnations. It’s a fun, self-aware world that could only exist on the Internet.
Actors John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman (Ralph and Vanellope, respectively) return to bring even more depth and character to the already loveable characters they created. Their voices and personalities cement their distinct voices to the characters, to the point that the characters could not feasibly exist without their talents. Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch return in reduced roles as Fix-It Felix, Jr. and Sergeant Calhoun, respectively, making way for new supporting cast members like Yesss, voiced by Empire’s Taraji P. Henson, and pop-up advertiser J.P. Spamley, voiced by an uncredited Bill Hader.
Beneath the glamorous visuals of the Internet, the film’s score nails home the emotional resonance, much in the same vein of the first film. The film’s climax is incredibly heart-wrenching due in large part to the powerful score from composer Henry Jackman. The film’s soundtrack also introduces a few new original songs, including a new end credits song from band Imagine Dragons, and an Alan Menken-composed, Disney Princess-inspired song by Vanellope.
The first film was an instant classic for its meta-humor and strong heart, with its themes of rejection, friendship and what makes someone a good person. Ralph Breaks the Internet doesn’t shy away from similar topics and offers real lessons on what friendship is and how we define ourselves and the people around us, a lesson that becomes all the more prevalent in an Internet world, where success is measured by other people’s validation. The film proves it’s important to have the support of a friend and to always believe in your own worth. And to NEVER read the comments.
To read interviews with the cast and creators of Ralph Breaks the Internet, visit this post. Or to find free printable coloring pages and activity sheets, click here! Ralph Breaks the Internet is now in theaters: