Disney Animation has been enjoying something of a renaissance period right now with the success of their animated movies. I’m not talking about the Pixar films that have been going from strength to strength, but those movies that were produced by Disney’s own animation studio. It seemed that Disney was finally on track with some of their movies once the full embraced computer animation (although their hand drawn feature The Princess and the Frog was incredible. Sadly that streak has been broken by none other than Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Set 6 years after the events from Wreck-It Ralph things are still pretty awesome between Ralph from his “Wreck-it Ralph” arcade game and things are wonderful between Ralph and Vanellope. Then the arcade is connected to the Internet via a new Wi-Fi network, and when an accident threatens to bring about the closure of Vanellope’s game “Sugar Rush,” Ralph and Vanellope decide to travel through the Internet and find E-Bay in an attempt get “Sugar Rush” fixed.
I admit to some hesitation when this sequel was announced, especially when one of the later trailers actually gave something of a spoiler. While the first Wreck-it Ralph was filled with some really clever ideas about what goes on in a network of video games (making it in some ways superior to both movies from the Tron franchise), the storyline for this movie felt disturbingly familiar, despite the fact that it takes place out in the world of the Internet. It’s almost as if the writers used the original story as a template for this on, especially in regards with the character of Ralph being somewhat careless whenever he’s outside of his game. Ralph finds himself out of his element upon traveling through the Internet, and when he thinks he’s doing Vanellope a favor he actually unleashes what is essentially Armageddon within the network. What did Ralph accidentally unleash while in the game “Sugar Rush” in the first film? Armageddon. What does save this movie from being merely mediocre repeat are the gags. As funny as some of the Easter Eggs were to discover in Wreck-it Ralph, this movie’s list of gags are extremely well thought out and instead of being merely a “wink and a nod” many of the are outrageously and hilariously funny, wildly clever, and at times even irreverent. The other saving grace for this movie is the quality of the animation. Disney Studios has become quite adept at creating computer-animated films that are almost on par with Pixar. Most of the time we don’t notice how well done this animation is, but one scene towards the end of the film was remarkably well done that the emotional motivations for both Ralph and Vanellope reached new depths and made for something that was rather powerful. Unfortunately this movie doesn’t largely consist with those types of moments. Instead we are left with a movie that is very beautiful to look at, filled with more memes and jokes than the entirety of Facebook, but in terms of story is reduced to simply “paint by numbers.”
There is virtually no substance here, with almost nothing that was truly original, just themes and variations. There are only jokes. They are AMAZING jokes, but only jokes nonetheless. Having said that, I would recommend not leaving as soon as the credits roll because Disney took a page out of the Marvel playbook and inserted one mid-credit scene and one post-credit scene. It is the mid-credit that I must mention for out of all of the jokes this was the one that had me in pure hysterics. It was also one of the most clever because it was extremely self-referential, which gave the animators the excuse to go somewhere slightly dark with their humor.
This movie was high octane with its humor and gags, but running on fumes with a strong story.
I’m forced to give Ralph Breaks the Internet only 2.5 out 5 Wi-Fi Bars.
Special thanks go out to Fingerpaint Marketing for providing the Press Screening for Ralph Breaks the Internet.
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