Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Worth it! It felt a bit odd spending twelve dollars to see a Disney family movie in a big box theater all by myself, but I have no regrets. This movie, directed by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore, brought me joy and many laughs. The film is a sequel to Wreck it Ralph, released in 2012. It maintains the same characters and their struggles to find belonging. Ralph, voiced by comic John C. Reilly, and Vanellope, voiced by comic Sarah Silverman, are video game characters who share a home and community in an outdated arcade. They form a strong and loyal friendship. I appreciate the depth of personality each character is given and the attention to the differences and desires  of these two best friends. Ralph is content with the ho hum of his daily life, but Vanellope struggles with that same concept; she longs for adventure.

When Vanellope’s game breaks down, the characters are displaced, essentially homeless. Upon overhearing that a replacement part to the her game could be purchased on Ebay, Vanellope and Ralph venture into the internet to discover what this Ebay place really is. One may imagine that the introduction of the internet  gives the movie a lot of material options to work with. Right on! Johnston and Moore’s portrayal of the world wide web is inventive, cute, and rather accurate to the average web surfer’s experience. My favorite features include the personified search bar and pop-up ads. The characters explore the land of Ebay, Buzztube (a mosh-up of YouTube and Buzzfeed), online personality quizzes, amazon, the dark web,  and poignant online commentary. A rich moment in the film is when Ralph wonders into the comment section of Buzztube and reads some harsh, degrading posts concerning videos he recently created, as a ploy to make money off of “click likes” for their Ebay purchase. This is a strong portrayal of our culture’s bad habit to seek gratification from social media likes and the sort. There are other moments like this one that invoke pause, and call for reflection in the audience. We are reminded that the internet is a wonderful source of inspiration, information, and connection, but it can also get us caught up in consumerism, greed, and the hedonic treadmill. Overall, the film balances love and laughs with creative insight into 2018’s culture, and is worthy of your viewing.