“Ralph Breaks the Internet” Surprises with Savvy Sequel


Sequels are rarely better than originals, but “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is an exception. I wasn’t really looking forward to the movie initially, but it absolutely blew my expectations out of the water.

The new release takes place about six years after the events of “Wreck-It-Ralph” (2012). Ralph and Vanellope are best friends and are still working at Litwak’s Family Fun Center and Arcade. While Ralph is perfectly content, Vanellope yearns for more unpredictability and excitement in her game. During one round, Ralph tries to surprise her with a windy track that he built on his own. Unfortunately, it causes the human player to accidentally destroy the steering wheel controller. Unwilling to pay $200 for a new wheel, Mr. Litwak shuts down the game, and all the characters of “Sugar Rush” are left without a home.

Feeling responsible and sorry for a distraught Vanellope, Ralph is determined to restore everything back to normal. Together, he and Vanellope break into the internet through the WiFi router–the arcade’s latest installment–and then they head to eBay to purchase the new steering wheel themselves.

The entrance to the Internet allows the film to make a lot of real-life references, and it works in both humorous and clever ways. References include Amazon, Twitter, Pinterest and Google–it makes you wonder just how many sponsors signed on. The only invented site seems to be BuzzTube, which is likely some sort of crossover between Buzzfeed and Youtube. Nonetheless, the allusions remind us of the movie’s relevance to our world and our generation. The film also seizes the opportunity to showcase Disney in all its glory (under the guise of the Oh My Disney website): “Star Wars,” “Zootopia” and all the Disney princesses. Is it really extra? Yes. But do we love it? Of course.

There are also some hilarious moments in the film, so I won’t ruin them for future viewers. For a “family friendly” movie, the script is satisfyingly witty. Look out for Princess Jasmine and Butcher Boy during a couple of great scenes as well. Beyond the silliness though, the sequel is surprisingly thoughtful and profound in its commentary. It catches up on the really bizarre and random things that entertain us, the sheer speed and convenience at which we consume and the toxicity that we spread as online users because we believe we bear no consequences for our words.

Another prevalent theme is the importance of friendship. What does it mean to be a good friend? How do we allow our insecurities to affect our relationships? Those are a couple of the questions with which the film grapples. One of its major strengths is the depiction of Ralph. He is relatable in many ways: he has a fear of being alone and his understandable but harmful actions don’t fall far from our own. Vanellope’s pursuit of her dreams, mixed with her conflicting feelings about how her ties with Ralph will be impacted, is also undoubtedly real.

I don’t know if other students cried, but I definitely did. Animated movies nowadays seem to head straight for the heartstrings. I don’t care who you are, you will enjoy “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” It may break your heart, but it will also mend your spirit, 100 percent guaranteed.

Contact Gloria Han at [email protected].