‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ — an inventive sequel that brings something new to the table

‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ — an inventive sequel that brings something new to the table

Sequels used to be an really iffy business. But, “Cars” notwithstanding, the crew over at Disney/Pixar seem to be able to defy the odds again and again, producing interesting, exciting, and often emotional new adventures for characters whose race you thought was run.

Case in point, the “Wreck-It Ralph” sequel, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” hits emotional beats the original didn’t even hint at and still manages to be fun and inventive all at the same time.

This time around Ralph and his little buddy Vanellope, both members of a small but close-knit community of video game characters who populate a suburban video game parlor straight out of 1985, find themselves in trouble when an attempt to change the humdrum routine results in a broken part on the Sugar Rush racing game and a potentially homeless horde of candy-based characters.

Turns out the only way to get the part they need is to try eBay, where a single collector has it for sale. This opens up the video parlor, for the first time, to the larger internet, and Ralph and Vanellope are in for the adventure of a lifetime. As they make their way through the urban jungle that is the World Wide Web, they are accosted by pop-ups, nearly killed inside a violent racing game, and taken in by a Youtube-style impresario who thinks she can make Ralph a star.

For Ralph, the goal is to make enough actual money to be able to afford the broken part and get his life back to normal, but Vanellope is slowly coming to the realization that maybe “back to normal” isn’t what she wants at all.

One of the best things about both of these “Ralph” films is not the main characters but the ephemera. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman, consummate entertainers though they are, are kind of my least favorite thing about the movie.

Instead, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is packed with wall-to-wall references, in-jokes and tiny hidden details that reward careful viewing. There are blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameos of everyone from Stan Lee to Riley from “Inside Out.”

I loved the scene when the Twitter logo flies onto a branch and starts tweeting a meme, which is immediately picked up by all the other birds in the tree. Videos are portrayed as giant concerts and eBay is an endless series of auction rooms.

The internet is cool, but the movie really hits its stride when our heroes venture into the Disney portal. So many different properties to play with.

It’s in the trailer, but the scene with all the Disney princesses hanging around in a well-appointed lounge is hilarious. Vanellope talks the girls into switching their gowns for lounge-wear and the attention to detail is awesome, from Elsa’s T-shirt sporting the phrase “Just let it go” to Rapunzel’s beanbag-style chair made from her own hair.

I really enjoyed this movie, but it’s not perfect.

It does a good job of hinting at the darkness of some avenues of the web and you can tell as the environment gets shabbier, Ralph is heading into places he might want to avoid.

Where it falls, however, is in addressing the toxic nature of fandom and the cowardly way many people approach comments sections for videos and the like.

At one point Ralph, who has become a “BuzzTube” sensation, wanders into a room where he finds walls of ugly comments streaming by, floor to ceiling.

“Just try not to read them” is the advice given to our heartsick hero, but that does nothing to address the behavior of the people doing the commenting, some of whom are, presumably watching this movie.

This was a missed opportunity to really quash a behavior that is, in my book, reprehensible.

Not that I think one movie going to change everyone’s behavior, but it might have made a few people think. Instead, it put the responsibility on Ralph to simply avoid things he doesn’t want to hear.

That criticism aside, I liked this movie a lot. I don’t know that I was clamoring for a “Wreck-It Ralph” sequel, but now that I have one, I’m eager for more! Grade: A-

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” is rated PG for silly cartoon mayhem and mild rude humor.


By Chris Jenness

Now Playing


More in Life

File
Minister’s Message: Keep your faith focused on Jesus

Don’t let fear make you slip from faith

Hip-Hop students practice their routines for Forever Christmas on Monday, Nov. 28, 2022, at Forever Dance in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Forever Dance rings in the holidays with variety show

The show serves as a fun holiday tradition and an opportunity to get on stage early in the season

Image courtesy 20th Century 
Ralph Fiennes is Chef Julien Slowik and Anya Taylor-Joy is Margot in “The Menu”
On the Screen: ‘The Menu’ serves up fun twists and earnest commentary

I was plenty interested in the film I saw in the trailers, but the one I saw at the theater was so much more

Golden Soup mixes cauliflower, onions and apples and can be made in one pot. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Golden soup offers a healthy reprieve after holiday indulgence

On the off days between the trips and celebrations I find it necessary to eat strategically

Photo courtesy of the National Archives 
This photo and information from a “prison book” at San Quentin state prison in California shows Arthur Vernon Watson when he entered the prison at age 23.
Justice wasn’t elementary, Watson, Part 2

Well before he shot and killed a man in Soldotna in 1961, Arthur Vernon Watson was considered trouble

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Thanksgiving

We at least have a good idea of what our political future looks like.

This is Arthur Vernon Watson at age 39, when he was transferred from the federal prison in Atlanta to the penitentiary on Alcatraz Island near San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)
Justice wasn’t elementary, Watson, Part 3

Anchorage probation officer Roy V. Norquist was monitoring Arthur’s movements and reported that he was pleased with what he saw

Cranberry sauce made from scratch with hand-picked berries makes a special holiday treat. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Foraging with love and gratitude

Gathered and prepared by hand, cranberries brighten a Thanksgiving feast

File
Minister’s Message: When the going gets tough…

Suffering as a Christian is not always a popular preaching topic.

Most Read