When I was growing up, Disney films meant the holidays for me, and it wouldn’t matter if they were all Disney released films or not, they were collectively known in my home as Disney movies, and this implied that they would be suitable for the entire family, and presented the possibility of an evening’s entertainment for everyone.
Disney Animation’s latest release, Ralph Breaks the Internet, a follow-up to 2012’s Wreck It Ralph, is just that. This is a family entertainment that will in fact do exactly that, entertain the family. There is lots for all ages to enjoy this one, and it is filled with laughs and a poignant theme and story.
It’s been six years since we last checked in with Ralph (John C. Reilly) and his best friend, Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) in the arcade, since then they’ve fallen into a regular routine which Ralph sees almost as the perfect life. But Vanellope has dreams.
Those dreams are about to be realized when the arcade’s owner, Mr. Litwak (Ed O’Neill) connects to the internet for the first time.
What follows is a humorous look at the world wide web, while also exploring a different facet of the Ralph-Vanellope relationship. In the first film, they become friends, this time around there is a dual arc going on, one that sees them as best friends who learn that things change, but also a kind of father-daughter relationship. This is a parenting theme that is hinted at when we check in with Felix (Jack McBrayer) and Calhoun (Jane Lynch) who have to take in some of the Sugar Rush gamers after the game is broken, and scheduled for dumping.
Ralph and Vanellope head out into the internet in search of the one piece that will save the Sugar Rush game and they meet autofill search bars, pop up ads, addictive online gaming (a racing game known as Slaughter Race where Vanellope meets Shank (Gal Gadot) and a new dream for her future).
The most enjoyable part of the film involves a sequence that reveals that Disney isn’t too shy to poke fun at themselves, as Vanellope, arguably a princess in her own right, ends up on a Disney website, and encounters some very familiar faces.
Disney Animation continues to turn out quality product, constantly establishing themselves at the forefront of family entertainment. A genre which has eschewed its less than enjoyable connotations of kiddie fare that the adults fall asleep through to become a genre that truly means family entertainment. There is something in this film for everyone, and all of us will recognize parts of the internet, or experiences with our own friends and families that Vanellope, Ralph and the rest go through.
And of course, the images look great. I love watching all the backgrounds when the characters explore the internet because they are layered with in-jokes and familiar iconography.
This is one to share with everyone, and one everyone will enjoy. There’s lots of humor, an involving story that has a number of layers, and a fantastic voice-cast.
Oh, and remember to wait through the first part of the credits for a wonderful tag.
Ralph Breaks the Internet opens tomorrow!