Ralph breaks the internet (2018) by Rich Moore, Phil Johnston

Spoiler Free

The misadventures of Ralph (John C. Reilly) the large, clumsy, but warm hearted video game villain and Princess Penelope (Sarah Silverman), the tom-boy car racing maniac expand into the world wide web in this cultural references heavy comedy that fails to capture the freshness and wit of its predecessor. In this sequel, the two heroes try to use the internet to keep Penelope’s game working, however as they delve deeper into the world wide web, their friendship is put through its paces and insecurities grow large.

While the story continues to have a fun variety of characters and settings, the plot in itself drags for too long. The first half of the film takes forever to escalate matters, spending too much time setting up locations and characters that will only be relevant later. This might have been allowed because the target audience, children, would enjoy the wild visuals and silly gags either way but for the rest of the audience, there is little of interest to invest in.

The film feels like a dish made by a cook following a specific recipe but it seems the cook forgot to read the footnote that said, add spices as needed. ‘Ralph breaks the internet’ does everything a hero’s journey requires, all the beats are there but they only serve their exact purpose and nothing else. Supporting characters have no real arc of their own and only work to help the leads. A problem that was not there in the first film.

In classic modern Disney fashion, the film also relies heavily on references to contemporary media. From princesses to silicon valley corporations such as Google, Snapchat and BuzzTube (I guess they didn’t get rights to Youtube?) it’s all there and very tongue-in-cheek. These references do manage to make you smile and in some cases laugh, I particularly enjoyed the self-aware jokes that the princesses made but all in all these result in three laughs in a film that is two hours long. The problem being that the causality tying all these elements together is weak at best and coincidental at worst.

While I enjoyed the animation and the actors did a good job lending their voices to the characters, the story never really took off and by the end of it I was just waiting for it to be done.

An unfortunate release in a setting that otherwise has a lot to offer, ‘Ralph breaks the internet’ is a comedy that due to its lengthy plot and weak story will fail to entertain any audiences looking for more than visual gags and thrills.

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