Sequels to animated movies – or any movie, for that matter – are tricky, especially when the original film was a critical and commercial success. This is the case for Ralph Breaks the Internet, the sequel to the 3D computer animated comedy Wreck-It Ralph released in 2012, and we have to say that it’s a success on the critical and commercial front!
Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston, it features the voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, and Jane Lynch, among others, who reprised their roles in the original. Both films were produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Most cinema chains including Harkins screened the movie to huge success, too.
Clunky Start, Picks Up Speed
At first, the movie seems to plod along with a few clunky scenes in the introduction but it soon picks up speed. Unlike Incredibles 2, yet another beloved animated sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet doesn’t immediately pick up where the original movie ended. Instead, it recalls – not expands on, mind you – the events in the original film, which can be tricky because the audience can become bored too soon into the film.
Fortunately, it soon picks up speed and builds on the momentum to sustain the audience’s interest. It’s the kind of film that questions many of the lessons that Walt Disney itself has expounded in its previous films, particularly the so-called Disney princesses. It features many, if not most, of the Disney princesses like Snow White, Rapunzel, and Ariel who tell Vanellope of their love for breaking into song and for their frequent need for men to save them.
The ironic view of otherwise strong characters like the Disney princesses being, well, weaker than they should be was a slightly risky move. Even with the wit and humor in the scene, the writers, directors and producers may have been putting their bread and butter on the line but the audiences loved it, and so did we!
Besides, it’s a good juxtaposition between the sassy, smartass, and speed-loving Vanellope and the beautiful damsel-in-distress princesses. Here’s a girl who may well teach women how to be, well, feminists and save themselves.
We aren’t saying that the Disney princesses are weaklings either – many, if not most, of them are strong in their own right in Disney’s contemporary interpretations, such as with Rapunzel and Aurora. But Vanellope seems almost like a breath of fresh air, a character who will give the boys and men a run for their money, given the chance to do so.
Great Lessons, Not Preachy
Ralph Breaks the Internet is, of course, an animated movie that appeals primarily to children with parents, who pay the tickets, being the secondary market. As such, it has colorful graphics that befit the arcade game theme, as well as cartoonish depictions of the characters and their exaggerated expressions. Its scenes allow for suspension of disbelief for, after all, the characters are in an arcade game where anything can and will happen, reality or not.
Parents will find that the movie imparts valuable life lessons to children, too, without being preachy. While many kids’ movies teach children about getting people together, perhaps forming a team, to solve a problem, stop a bad guy, or changing the world, this isn’t one of them. Instead, it encourages children to be themselves while also allowing their friends to be themselves, too, even when there are challenges that come with being so.
Ralph, for example, doesn’t want Vanellope to pretend to be somebody she isn’t and vice versa although there are times of tension. Friends, as the movie wants to impart, doesn’t have to be exactly alike – and it’s a message threaded throughout the movie without being too in-your-face about it. Plus, it definitely helps that the movie has witty dialogues, fast-paced actions, and entertaining scenes.
What about the plot? It’s something that the children can enjoy while the adults can think about when they get home, perhaps even carry on a discussion with the children.
Six years after the end of the first movie, Ralph (Reilly) and Vanellope (Silverman) have settled on a happy routine in their lives. He works in his game and hangs out with his friends at night, even enjoy recreation time in other games. But change comes when the arcade games become plugged in to the Internet, thanks to a Wi-Fi router.
Vanellope being the adventurous person that she is, races to the Internet and Ralph being the friend that he is soon follows her. Their adventure begins and it’s one that will challenge their friendship while also strengthening it.
Just be prepared for the branding images that pepper the screen from time to time, although these are usually done in a tasteful manner. There are real-world companies like eBay, Pinterest and Amazon being promoted in the movie alongside fictional ones.
Overall, Ralph Breaks the Internet is a great movie to watch, with or without children in tow.