Disney kicks off the festive season with Wreck-It-Ralph: Ralph Breaks the Internet. As we left the theater, my young friend made a prediction for this rollicking movie: “It’s going to be busy over the holidays.” He’s right. Ralph Breaks The Internet is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser for little kids and big kids alike. Filled with laughs and gorgeous, nostalgic animation design, it’s destined to warm hearts over Thanksgiving and beyond.
Wreck-It-Ralph and friends are back, and this time with Gal Gadot and Taraji P. Henson in tow. The animation, effects and design are stellar. All the elements that made the first film charming and heart-warming are here, but the humor is turned up a notch with a heaping huge spoonful of Disney nostalgia.
In Wreck-It-Ralph: Ralph Breaks the Internet the arcade gets Wi-Fi. Of course, it’s off-limits to the arcade inhabitants. Vanellope meanwhile is bored of Sugar Rush, and even though Ralph does his best to keep the game exciting for her, she still wants more. While breaking in a new course, her steering wheel snaps off. So it’s up to Ralph and Vanellope to find her a new one or the game gets shut down. Together they venture into the world of Wi-Fi to keep Vallelope in action.
Once the best friends enter the wild wide world of the internet, the spectacular animation comes alive. “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the internet” announces Vanellope and what an otherworldly world it is. Think the districts in Zootopia that blew us away, and blend in all the risks and wonders of the web. That’s what Disney gives us in Ralph Breaks The Internet. It’s a visual heaven. The magic of animation becomes a thrill ride, and the references to our world, the world of Disney, and clever in-jokes abound throughout. Winks and nods to Star Wars to Marvel make appearances — as well as a now suddenly poignant moment when Stan Lee makes an animated cameo.
While Ralph and Vanellope seek to find and buy her a replacement steering wheel on eBay, we meet new characters. Shank, voiced by Gal Gadot, is a tough-as-nails race car driver from an online game called Slaughter Race. Vanellope falls in love with this world. There are no fixed tracks, and the gritty world here is her dream of freedom. Although as Vanellope finds a new soulmate in Shank, Ralph fears he might lose the only friend he’s ever known.
Taraji P. Henson provides the voice for Yesss, the head algorithm and boss of BuzzTube (see what they did there?) It’s Yesss who helps Ralph reach his potential as a viral sensation to help him raise the funds to get his best friend back behind her missing wheel.
Wreck-It-Ralph is filled with abundant surprises, but the Disney Princesses scene is a sheer revelation — a superb nostalgic trip down memory lane. It’s a thoroughly delightful treat to see all our beloved princesses band together to help “Princess Vanellope” discover her dream and desire. Memorable, witty, and charming, the scene will be one of the most talked-about moments by lifelong Disney lovers as we watch all our beloved princesses become feminists.
The entire cast lend their superb talents to every character. John C. Reily of course returns as Ralph, once again fantastic as the big-hearted guy forever trying to do what’s best for his best friend forever. Sarah Silverman fills her portrayal of Vanellope with endearing sentiment and her trademark edge.
Gal Gadot’s Shank is perhaps the MVP here. As Vanellope’s eyes are opened to everything the world has to offer, Shank’s wise advice and guidance ensures that her new friend never careens off track. The song Slaughter Race as sung by Gal Gadot and cast is an extra-special moment and could very well be a Best Original Song contender. I mean, just imagine reveling in a live Gal Gadot performance on stage at the Oscars.
In true Disney fashion, the film comes with a meaningful message — this time about the dangers of the internet. Wandering into the dark web, Ralph and Vanellope try to raise funds to finance their Ebay bid, they encounter the grim side of the internet, complete with trolls and toxic comments. It’s a vicious morass we know all too well and one that we’re happy to see our hero and heroines escape.
Enduring friendship is another theme of the story, another lesson that everyone can understand. , Spunky Vanellope is ready for more adventure. She’s eager to explore what the world of the internet has to offer, but her best buddy Ralph is happy and content with the way things are. As the bonds of their friendship are strained, the way they navigate separate paths while keeping each other in mind becomes the pure heart of the story, and their journey of newfound maturity is beautifully conveyed.
On par if not superior to its original, Wreck It Ralph: Ralph Breaks The Internet is a joy from start to finish. Like all the finest Disney entertainment, it transcends the ages of everyone in the audience, leaving young and old alike gawking in awe at this divinely imaginative world.
Stay put in your seats through the credits. Trust me, you won’t want to let go of this dazzling delight. Also, Pancake, Milkshake. Disney, if you’re listening. Can we have the game?!
Wreck-It-Ralph: Ralph Breaks The Internet is released on November 21