Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTORS: Rich Moore, Phil Johnston
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Nathan Detroit Warner, Brian Leach
WRITERS: Phil Johnston, Pamela Ribon
MUSIC: Henry Jackman
Sometimes, there are movies that come out and surprise you with how good they are. That’s not to say that you necessarily thought that the film would be bad, but it definitely exceeded your expectations. That was the case for me when “Wreck-It-Ralph” hit theaters in 2012.
In the six years since the first film’s release, the element of surprise is understandably gone and the sequel, “Ralph Breaks the Internet”, is not as fresh as the original film. The story suffers from not having a central villain for most of the movie. This means that while we enjoy heading off to the internet with Ralph (John C. Reilly) and his best friend Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), we do wonder where exactly they’ll ultimately end up going.
The story involves Ralph screwing up Vanellope’s game “Sugar Rush” and causing a player in the real world to break her arcade machine. The owner of the arcade says that the part on eBay cost too much and he will just salvage the machine for parts. Ralph sees that Vanellope feels out-of-place with no game and they both decide to travel to the internet in order to get the part they need themselves.
The thing that ultimately makes the film work is the central friendship between Ralph and Vanellope and that is ultimately what is at stake in this movie. Ralph is perhaps a little too clingy and Vanellope is still trying to find her place in the digital world. The big question is whether or not their friendship can survive their different goals in life.
Reilly and Silverman do terrific jobs reprising their roles and as much as the animation works, you have to have convincing voices and these two are able to recreate their chemistry. The rest of the film’s voice actors are also dependable even though none of them stick out as much as the two leads.
The animation is also dependable and you can see that a lot of work has gone into creating this “new” world known as the Internet. It was also great to see how well they summed up the internet with search engine characters and characters that represent video streaming services such as YouTube. They even take a brief moment to remind us why we never read the comments section.
The only thing that’s really missing in this new world is that the story never really tells a solid story about both the pros and cons of the internet. In this movie, it’s just a bigger place that Ralph is afraid of and Vanellope loves it because it has bigger and more dangerous games such as “Slaughter Race”, a game that is obviously an amalgamation of combat racing games and “Grand Theft Auto”. The movie does do a good job of reminding you that Disney owns the world with plenty of references to not just their own past projects, but also to “Star Wars” and Marvel as well.
Despite not having a more substantive commentary on the internet and the fact that the series doesn’t exactly have a fresh coat of paint, the movie is another fun little adventure. If you were a fan of the original “Wreck-It-Ralph”, then you will get a kick out of the sequel.