Sunday, 25 November 2018
Ralph Breaks the Internet (Movie Review)
There have been quite a few movies in recent years that were heavily influenced by video game culture. Some were decent enough (like Ready Player One earlier this year), while others were not so much (I'm looking at you, Pixels starring Adam Sandler). But none of them were as successful at creating that perfect blend of nostalgia and humor as 2012's Wreck-It Ralph. The fact that it managed to tell a heartfelt story about a video game baddie that wanted more than the hand that he had been dealt while doing so was an accomplishment on its own.
Set 6 years after the events of the first movie, Ralph Breaks the Internet centers upon the friendship between the titular baddie turned hero (John C. Reilley) and Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), a bratty but adorable go-cart racer and ruler of the video game kingdom, Sugar Rush. This time around, it is Vanellope that begins to desire more from their life of routine. Her wish comes true when she and Ralph are forced to leave the safety of the arcade and journey to the Internet, where they hope to get a replacement part for the Sugar Rush arcade cabinet before it is unplugged.
The duo would soon find out that the Internet is not for the fainthearted, with its busy highways and aggressive popup ads. This is especially so when they venture into the online racing game, Slaughter Race, where they hope to earn enough money to buy the part they need by stealing a car owned by Shank (Gal Gadot), a hotshot racer and leader of a crew of street racers. Vanellope is immediately attracted by the high-speed thrills of racing in Slaughter Race, and this would serve as a catalyst for a series of events that would test her friendship with Ralph to its limits.
As much as I loved Wreck-It Ralph, I have to admit that that love pales in comparison to my love for its sequel. Ralph Breaks the Internet takes everything that made the first movie great and expands upon it, scratching my nostalgia and fanboy itches in the process. Much like the first movie, the sequel is chuck full of cameos and pop culture references. These included characters from Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and, in my favorite bit, Disney's own stable of Disney Princesses. The fact that they were all voiced by their original voice actors lent a level of authenticity to their inclusion that made them feel integral to the story.
And in the midst of all that fun and humor, the writing team still manages to tell a cautionary tale that explores our overdependence on technology and our obsession with social media trends. Put simply, the movie is not only one of the best-made animated films in recent memory, it is also one of the most important, and as such, deserves a Best Animated Feature nomination at the forthcoming 91st Academy Awards. Hopefully it doesn't get robbed of the award like the original was.