Movie Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet
PG | 1h 52min
Directors: Phil Johnston, Rich Moore
Stars: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot
by Jason Koenigsberg
Another big sequel for audiences to see this weekend is Ralph Breaks the Internet, a continuation of the adventures of Wreck-It Ralph (2012) and his little friend Vanellope. John C. Reilly is back as the voice of Ralph and Sarah Silverman returns to voice his best friend and this movie relies on them a lot. Their voice performances are distinctive and carry Ralph Breaks the Internet on their warmth and charm and the viewer’s affection for them in the previous film. Otherwise, there is not much positive to report on Ralph Breaks the Internet (still confused why they did not call it Ralph Wrecks the Internet especially since they dropped Wreck-It Ralph 2 from the title).
The film opens up with another pathetic ‘Thank You’ from the filmmakers to the audience for actually coming out to theaters to see a movie. These messages are getting tedious, even though this one is slightly more clever than the ones that are just a director talking straight to the audience. But then after that, no short film! What a rip-off! The first shot is of the arcade where our characters games are housed and we hear audio of Ralph and Vanellope talking about change and how one is content and the other wants more out of life. Shortly after a new plug is inserted into an open outlet and the video game characters gather to see what the new game will be. It is ‘WIFI’ to which Ralph assumes is either short for wiffleball, or something about a wife, one of the films more clever lines. Immediately a character explains that it is the internet and tapes the entrance to the WIFI off using yellow police tape. It seemed like this was going to be the angle the movie would take with the theme about fear of the unknown and something different, a general fear of new technology. But instead, that theme is abandoned rather quickly and the movie goes in a different direction.
The event that sets off the reason Ralph wants to go into the internet and ends up wreaking havoc on the web is very shallow. He wants to go to eBay and buy a new part for Vanellope’s game so it does not get shut down. There are at least a dozen other hypothetical situations to get Ralph and some of his friends from the last movie to go out into a scary new place called the internet that would have been better than looking for a part to an old arcade game. How about the arcade they all live in is about to go out of business and all the games have to shut down but they will all be available on the world wide web. Thus making them all in inhabit one place while simultaneously making them further apart from each other because of the vast complexities of the web. But alas, these writers took a lazier way to get the action going and the plot is not as interesting as it could have been. Plus, Ralph hardly ‘breaks the internet’, he sort of gives it a cold and then gives it some NyQuil and everything is all better. A plot about all of the secure private information people post on the internet suddenly becoming available to the entire world would have been another scary and more topical plot than what audiences are given here.
Ralph Breaks the Internet has a few laugh out loud moments, but once again this movie relies on our devotion to the two main characters to keep us interested in what happens. Depending on how much you care about a sympathetic bad guy character and a misfit female racecar driver with funny voices will determine how much you enjoy Ralph Breaks the Internet. It does have some glorious visuals once they are inside the web, but none of these images are original ideas. Their visualization of the internet looks a lot like the opening credits for Futurama. This movie has a lot of bright, vibrant colors, but nothing so amazing one will want to see it again for the images. There are uninspired car chases and action sequences that look cool while they are happening, but will probably not register much after audiences leave the theater as being memorable and riveting. Mostly because they are all recycled moment from other films.
Ralph Breaks the Internet works the best when it focuses on its theme of friends. About how friendships evolve and people grow apart and have different dreams that they want to pursue. Ralph Breaks the Internet is a harmless film and children and families will enjoy it. No doubt they have already flocked to the megaplex to see it already, and parents and families could do worse than buying admission to it. Viewers may walk out satisfied and then move on to the next thing. Others may enjoy some of it, but wish that they tried to do more with the characters and the plot to explore more innovative ideas and had some more original and stimulating visuals that they had never seen before. Ralph Breaks the Internet aims for the middle of the road and hits a bullseye. I really wish it aimed higher to be more than just an adequate sequel.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is mediocre. The original Wreck-It Ralph remains one of the best-animated features this decade.