29th Nov2018

‘Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2′ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Features the voices of: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, Flula Borg, Ali Wong, Sean Giambrone | Written by Phil Johnston, Pamela Ribon | Directed by Phil Johnston, Rich Moore

ralph-2-poster

Taking place six years after saving the arcade from Turbo’s vengeance, the Sugar Rush arcade cabinet has broken, forcing Ralph and Vanellope to travel to the Internet via the newly-installed Wi-Fi router in Litwak’s Arcade to retrieve the piece capable of saving the game.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is the sequel to Disney’s critically and financially acclaimed John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman starring Wreck-It Ralph, released in 2012. Six years later Reilly, as loveable angst-fuelled arcade villain turned hero Ralph and Silverman, as the adorable glitch Vanellope, return in the sequel that thrusts both their friendship and fate into the depths of the perils, yet the often fun, world wide web aka the internet.

The colour palette, aesthetic and animation design by Disney is at this point unparalleled in terms of sheer scope and achievement. It looks outstanding and at the very tip of the constant evolution in terms of the practicality of such a film can achieve through its art form. Especially that of when the film takes its titular turn into the internet. The sheer scope of the films intent and exploration is somewhat overwhelming and never fully realised to the degree an audience would presumably love, especially that of the older audience. However, much like the platform itself and the neverending cycle of day to day simplicity of the usual typical sites of its user base, the gravitas and level of scale available are trimmed down to the conventional and cultural highlights of YouTube, eBay and Instagram etc.

An issue that presents itself hidden in the midst of enjoyment is the unfortunate prism of drastic ageing due to the content provided. Technology moves ever so fast and evolves at such a frantic pace, anything caught in a time frame is ultimately destined to be something of a museum piece in a few years time. Ralph Breaks the Internet is not able to escape this matter but chooses to explore and highlight the cultural phenomenon as a historical study of sorts, Ralph ironically being an arcade game character in a world that grants 4K bloodshed and tire screeching as a basic model of entertainment – offering a glimpse at the obsolete, perhaps ironically so, or perhaps intended as a character study to explore what it means to be different and unique in a vast pond of expense.

That’s evident in the Venellope character arc more so than Ralph, yet it’s ridiculous to suggest the latter is primarily the character in question who’s livelihood is far more in jeopardy that the former, who’s gift of glitching offers her a chance of rebuilding and re-exercising her right of a chance to continue to explore and live. This existential theme isn’t necessarily the films primary output, rather than the tinsel town approach to friendship, but lifts what otherwise is simplistic renditions of genre convention to an elegant exploration of understanding and confidence.

In essence, Ralph Breaks the Internet is far more so than just a vivid, entertaining romp of popular culture, even if you throw in a Blade Runner: 2049 easter egg. At its heart, Disney’s sequel is superb and sumptuous effort in the provocation of what one can be defined or will allow others to label them as.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is in UK cinemas tomorrow, November 30th.

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