REVIEW: Another Take on “Ralph Breaks The Internet”
The following review does not reflect the views or opinions of WDWNT, it is solely that of the writer Tyler M. The writer was not given any press liberties or special treatment in regards to the early screening of this film. We have two reviews of Ralph Breaks the Internet available, hence the title, “Another Take.”
The Internet is a big strange and confusing landscape, so I was rather skeptical of a sequel to Wreck It Ralph that took place on the Internet itself. I loved the first movie enough to see it three times in the theater, however the marketing for this film and what I saw in the trailers worried me. I was very glad to have won some free tickets from TAAFI, to the pre-screening in Toronto of the movie. The screening was largely attended by contest winners like myself, and press who would be writing reviews of their own. I brought along a friend who works for an animation company, so they know the process themselves, and I found we had the same fears for the sequel.
I was worried about all the references and plugs for existing companies. I was worried about the ‘social media influence cast’ that was included. I was worried about the Disney Princesses being in much more than what we saw in the trailer. I was worried that Calhoun and Felix were absent from the trailers and therefore absent from the movie. Sadly I came out of this movie with all of these fears and worries coming true, and found myself saying “that was okay.” I will keep this review spoiler free, and may reference things already seen in articles, clips, or trailers to properly explain my feelings.
The screening started out with two representatives trying to ask trivia questions to give away prizes, however some audience members raised their hand to answer, whereas the rest shouted out loud. The two representatives did not know what to do, so they opted to stand there awkwardly until an audience member yelled out “pick someone already.” They then ‘welcomed us to the screening of…’ and needed to look up at the screen to read off the movie title, most likely because they didn’t know. After that they mispronounced Bandai, one of the sponsors for the screening. So we were off to a great start.
It’s important to note that the original Wreck It Ralph movie had an entire plot point and sequence cut from the end result, in which Litwak gets the Internet and Ralph tries to escape through the WiFi into a game on Litwak’s Facebook account, called Easy Living 2. Ralph finds himself getting many ‘likes’ from the NPC’s for any action, even wrecking things, however this perfect world becomes repetitive for him, and he realizes what’s truly important. You can find it on the first film’s special features, all storyboarded with scratch voices. I was optimistic that this cut sequence would be the basis for the sequel, and they had a clear vision behind making another one, however I believe there was a lot more going on. Let’s get to the review.
The trailers outline the larger story of the film, which is that Vanellope’s arcade cabinet gets broken, and so Ralph and her journey into the internet to find a replacement, otherwise Mr. Litwak will unplug the game, leaving the characters homeless in Game Central Station.
Previous films such as The Emoji Movie made me worried for how the inside of the Internet or electronic world would be portrayed. This I can say they did brilliantly. It’s an expansive world where as Walt would say ‘Everything Speaks’ in that everything has a purpose and we get to see and understand how this new world works.
This is where the movie began to lose me. I saw the trailers and was worried about how much this almost blatant advertising would have a place in the film, and I’m sorry to say it’s largely in it, almost distracting. There’s a portion of the film where Ralph is re-enacting Internet memes, which was funny to see reanimated. After a few seconds though, it becomes sad to watch, almost like the movie was holding up a mirror and reminding us that we who use the internet made these things popular.
Now I love a good cameo or surprise guest in an SNL sketch, or parody film, however the marketing team at Disney chose to ruin these surprises by posting clickbait type articles and news posts to tell you exactly who you can see in the background. Remember how they showed a clip of Nick Wilde from Zootopia? Well, that clip is all you see in the film, a quick two seconds in the background. The characters appear for no use other than to make you chuckle at the fact that they are there on screen again. Which brings me to….
I wish I could tell you that what was in the extended trailer was all we see, but I can’t. We spend so much of the film in the Oh My Disney section of the Internet, and most of it is with these Princesses. Many of them are out of character, or the subject of awkward jokes, and if that’s the kind of thing you enjoy then these scenes will be enjoyable to you. I ended up tapping my fictional watch so we could go on with the story.
This movie takes place six years after the first film, a real world time frame for us, the audience. During the opening we expect to see or hear how our characters have grown or changed, but we find that being explored slowly throughout the movie from Ralph and Vanellope. I only speak of those two because Calhoun and Felix appear in less than two minutes total. They are given a side story that is quickly ignored for the rest of the main story, and we only see their resolution right at the end of the film. They do not appear anywhere in the middle hour of the movie, so if you are going into this sequel to see how these characters grew since the last one, you will be disappointed. I’m sure the rest of their scenes will be in a massive Deleted Scenes section of the Blu-Ray. There was a few more things that appear to have been removed from the movie, such as the “Pancake Milkshake” game from the trailer, which is pushed to the end credits. Here you can find the mom and baby in the car referencing the fact that “the scene from the trailer wasn’t in the movie,” before proceeding with the exact same scene we already saw in the marketing. There is also one line in the trailer where Ralph says “shouldn’t it be Ralph ‘WRECKS’ the Internet?”, Self referencing the title of the movie, which does not appear in the film either. I’m sure we can expect a lot of deleted scenes.
I have nothing but positive things to say about those who made the movie itself. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman continue to shine lending their emotional voices and heart. Directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston do a wonderful job of pacing the movie and making sure every gag on screen gets it’s own moment to be seen. Cory Loftis did fantastic art for the film, some of which is seen in the credits. Henry Jackman’s score was great, which leads me into…
This was what I was looking forward to most, but that turned to instant worry once I heard the exact same opening music from the first one. There are two tracks in the film that sound almost identical, however upon listening to the soundtrack for the sequel, it’s become clear they recomposed and re-scored it. Outside of the main Game Central Station and Sugar Rush themes, the new score is a great departure from the 8Bit genre, Mario Kart style, and Action oriented Hero’s Duty score. The score when we enter the Internet reminds me of a grand Star Trek score with sweeping strings that add to the magic feeling of this huge environment, and I am now listening to the soundtrack on repeat, which was released digitally on November 16th. There is one particularly prominent piece of music that stands out in the movie, and while I found myself confused and baffled at this choice of music, I think audiences will enjoy it the most. Unlike the marketing for the film, I will let it be a surprise for you. Oh wait, I checked Wikipedia, and it’s already been spoiled as well. Don’t check Wikipedia or any news outlet if you prefer to be surprised at anything in this film.
Before the movie played, we were given the trailer for Toy Story 4 which features new characters voiced by Key And Peele. I found myself saying “Who is that for? Who is the audience they are trying to entertain with the addition of these two together?” Kids don’t watch Key And Peele, but then again, maybe they do. Adults seem to be the main audience for Toy Story, especially since we grew up with Andy on screen. The kids who were young during the first one are now adults and like Key And Peele. I then came to the conclusion that anything is for anybody who enjoys it. During the movie I kept trying to understand the audience for the film. Kids will definitely love all the Disney references and seeing these characters in quick cameos. Other kids will love the Princesses all together in their very long cameo. Anybody who does not understand the Internet will enjoy watching this movie and getting hastily put together exposition about how things on the internet work, such as algorithms, loot mining, and auto fill search results. It would be interesting to think about someone watching the movie who doesn’t know anything about Disney, or who any of these princesses are, however that seems very unlikely.
I think I can pinpoint that the target audience though, is that specific group of people who watches memes, follows internet trends, spends most of their time following streaming YouTubers, and can laugh uncontrollably at the visual representation of these things in an animated movie. I was sitting in the front row, so I was unable to see or hear most of the audience, however the particular group behind me felt the need to say “HA YES!” or “OH MY GOSH!” to every internet meme reference, or the visual depiction of Fortnite, which also lasts only a split second of screen time. This movie feels like it was made for those who it seemingly makes fun of or references throughout itself. They can get together afterwards to remember the things in the movie that reminded them of the things they already remember.
Maybe the movie is trying to remind you that literally anybody can use the Internet, and become famous, if only to be ridiculed, insulted, and then forgotten about. All of these play major roles in the film, which remind me that something as powerful as the Internet can be used for both good and bad. Those are the memorable parts of the movie for me, when characters are reminded that this world is not all cat videos and goats screaming. Sometimes people can be cruel or make actions without realizing the global scale of what they have done. Sometimes it takes that person to realize their mistakes and put aside their own petty needs for those around them. I hope that message is not lost within the constant barrage of references and corporate pandering, and that others who watch the movie, enjoy it as much as the audience around me did.
It will be exciting to see more of these characters in the upcoming Ralph Breaks VR attraction set to open at Disney Springs along with other Void locations throughout the world on November 21st. Did you get the chance to see the movie early? Have you come back to read this review after watching it? Drop your own thoughts in the comments below, remember to keep it spoiler free for others who may not have seen the film yet. And remember, this is the Internet, so be kind.