A Charming But Largely Uninspiring Sequel
Set six years after the events of the first film, Ralph Breaks The Internet sees all the characters from the first film return, living happily and content with their gaming routines. Ralph is a very different villain to where we left him in the first film, enjoying the company of Vanellope as the two have a seemingly unbreakable bond. This is put to the test when an accident in the arcade involving Vanellope’s game Sugar Rush throws the gaming community into chaos. With the future of Sugar Rush hanging in the balance, Ralph and Vanellope travel to the world wide web to find a missing part needed to get Sugar Rush working again.
For the most part the story works well but in terms of pacing, Ralph Breaks The Internet is in such a rush to push us to the next set piece, the film feels disjointed with numerous subplots that never resolve themselves and wind up lost in limbo. When Wreck-It-Ralph first came out, the film was chock full of Easter eggs and clever little references to gaming culture, all wrapped up in a story full of memorable, well written characters. With Ralph Breaks The Internet, some of the more well-loved characters from the first film are reduced to fleeting cameos in favour of newer characters that are largely lost in the constant commercialized metropolis and pop references in the film.
Disney Animations have always had a knack for delivering visually and Ralph Breaks The Internet is no exception. The colours are beautifully presented, establishing shots of locations are busy and full of tiny details and the lighting is superb throughout. Character models are really detailed too although some of the newer characters do feel a little uninspiring and therein lies the biggest problem with Ralph Breaks The Internet.
From blue birds chirping to trending videos of Chewbacca Dad and Surprise Eggs, Ralph Breaks The Internet is a fun little ride but at times is in danger of out-dating itself with its specific pop culture references. Some of the jokes don’t always land either; Ralph asking if Google sells Goggles and blue birds chirping celeb news are obvious examples that do stand out. On the whole though, the humour does help drive the film forward and a mix of slapstick and fourth wall breaking nods to Disney plot points are a nice inclusion.
Still, for all of its flaws, Ralph Breaks The Internet is an enjoyable film and one that’s likely to make a boat load at the box office. The various pop culture references and satirical look at our digitalised world are really well realized. The overall message around friendship and obsession is nicely developed too although on a personal level, the ending does feel a little misplaced and out of character, given the character journeys these two take. Vanellope and Ralph are as charming as ever though and do a good job keeping the film’s narrative ticking over.
Ralph Breaks The Internet is a fun animated flick, one with energy and a real enthusiastic charm with its numerous jokes and pop culture references. While the overall message of the film is a good one, the film is often in such a hurry to throw another pop culture reference at us it forgets the key Disney ingredients to make it feel magical. It’s ultimately a fun, amusing sequel but lacks the same heart the first had in abundance.