The 2-minute review: Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet 2
John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman provide the voices for Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz in Ralph Breaks the Internet. Photograph from IMDb
Culture

The 2-minute review: Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet

While as delightful and inventive as its predecessor, this Wreck-It Ralph is more ambitious.
Andrew Paredes | Nov 21 2018

Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston

Starring John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot

The first Wreck-It Ralph delighted audiences because in its inventiveness, it managed to speak not only to kids and adults in equal measure, but to two different generations of gamers, as well: the Gen-X arcade habitue who burned through tokens to play Dig Dug and Pac-Man, and the millennial joystick-wielder who learned about bravery playing high-resolution, first-person-shooter games. The equally delightful and inventive sequel, Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet, sets its ambitions even higher: speaking to each and every audience member who has ever had to navigate the Internet. (Which means…everyone.)

The 2-minute review: Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet 3
Ralph and his best friend, the racer Vanellope. IMDb

The titular video game baddie (John C. Reilly) has long resolved his issues with self-validation, settling into a contented routine with the best friend he made at the end of the original, the glitchy racer Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), quite possibly the Disney princess with the funkiest origin story. Unlike Ralph, Vanellope has been wondering if there is more to the world beyond the confines of her video game Sugar Rush, and when her independent streak causes the steering wheel of the game console to break, the two friends take advantage of the arcade’s newly installed WiFi to set out into the vastness of cyberspace to look for a replacement part…and satisfy Vanellope’s curiosity.

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Co-directors Moore and Johnston seize upon an instantly relatable visualization of the Internet as a sprawling metropolis. IMDb

Co-directors Rich Moore (an alumnus of The Simpsons) and Phil Johnston (with story assists from writer Pamela Ribon and Filipina-American animator Josie Trinidad) seize upon an instantly relatable visualization of the Internet as a sprawling metropolis—think a more brightly lit Tokyo from Blade Runner—complete with search-engine info kiosks, eBay as a giant auction fairground, and pushy hucksters peddling clickbait and pop-up ads. While simplistic about how cyberspace works—especially when it comes to the Dark Net—the milieu is expansive enough to contain myriad sight gags that will elicit chuckles borne from recognition.

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Soft-hearted gang leader Shank (Gal Gadot). IMDb

But the real protagonist this time around isn’t Ralph, but Vanellope. The racer who glitches whenever she feels insecure, a quirky trait that plays a crucial role in the plot, finally gets to go on a bonafide Disney princess journey, stumbling upon a game with the intimidating name of Slaughter Race and discovering a role model in the hard-edged but soft-hearted gang leader Shank (Gal Gadot). Along the way, Ralph Breaks the Internet explores the heartbreak hidden in every deep friendship and takes many delicious detours, including one that deftly skewers the Disney princess ethos (and comes with a snarky new song from Alan Menken, to boot!). Ralph Breaks the Internet is an unqualified delight, and you might want to savor every moment by staying until the very end of the closing credits (wink, wink).