RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2 review

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Here’s the cast. Starring, we have John C. Reilly (SISTERS BROTHERS [2018], LITTLE HOURS [2017], LOBSTER [2016], GUARDIANS [2014], and upcoming films HOLMES & WATSON [2018] and STAN & OLLIE [2019]) and Sarah Silverman (BATTLE OF THE SEXES [2017] and POPSTAR [2016]).

In support, we have Gal Gadot (JUSTICE LEAGUE [2017], CRIMINAL [2016], F&F 4 [2009], 5 [2011], 6 [2013], and upcoming films WONDER WOMAN 1984 [2020] and DEATH ON THE NILE [2020]), Taraji P. Henson (ACRIMONY [2018], HIDDEN FIGURES [2016], and upcoming films WHAT MEN WANT [2019] and THE BEST OF ENEMIES [2019]), Alan Tudyk (DEADPOOL 2 [2018], STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE [2016], MAZE RUNNER 2 [2015], FROZEN [2013], and TUCKER & DALE [2011]), Jennifer Hale (MASS EFFECT [2008] and STAR WARS KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC [2003]), and Auli’i Cravalho (MOANA [2016]).

Now for the crew. Co-directing, we have Rich Moore (ZOOTOPIA [2016]) and Phil Johnston (ZOOTOPIA), who is also co-writing. Johnston’s partner-in-pen is Pamela Ribon, known for SMURFS: LOST VILLAGE (2017). One of the executive producers is John Lasseter, known for INCREDIBLES 2 (2018), COCO (2017), FINDING DORY (2016), INSIDE OUT (2015), FROZEN, TANGLED (2010), PRINCESS AND THE FROG (2009), and the upcoming TOY STORY 4 (2019). Composing the score is Henry Jackman, known for THE PREDATOR (2018), JUMANJI 2 (2017), CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016) and WINTER SOLDIER (2014), KINGSMAN (2015), G.I. JOE: RETALIATION (2013), X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (2011), and the upcoming POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU (2019). The cinematographer is Nathan Warner, known for ZOOTOPIA. Finally, co-editors are Jeremy Milton and Fabienne Rawley, both known for ZOOTOPIA. 

I’ve already seen the movie, so let’s get right to it.

This is my honest opinion of: RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2

 

(SUMMARY)

Ralph (voice by John C. Reilly) is perfectly content with his life in the arcade with his sense of purpose and repetition. Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman), on the other hand, has been hit with a pang of wishing for something more than racing on the same tracks. Despite Ralph’s best efforts in trying to make a new course to cheer up Vanellope, this inadvertently causes the gamer in the real world to accidentally break the steering wheel of the arcade machine, and the replacement part is far too expensive and will soon be sent off to be scrapped, causing the characters of the game to be moved out. But an amazing opportunity presents itself when the arcade ends up getting plugged in to the internet. In a final, desperate attempt to cheer Vanellope up, Ralph brings her to the internet to track down the missing part and pay for it themselves by playing video games to get rich. Their first stop is a violent and extreme game called Slaughter Race, which will net them just enough money to buy the missing part for Vanellope’s game back in the arcade. But once she gets a taste for how new Slaughter Race is, as well as idolizing the primary mascot of the game, Shank (voiced by Gal Gadot), Vanellope thinks that maybe this is new life that she’s been dreaming of, and Ralph shows that he’s not ready to give her up.

(REVIEW)

I didn’t love it. Honestly, I’m bouncing back and forth on whether or not I even like it. Out of Disney’s 3D-animated films since TANGLED, this is far and away my least favorite of their films. I mean, obviously I don’t think this is a bad film, but… meh. I was hoping for something better than this.

The biggest problem that I know will crop up in everyone’s written opinion is that it’s a cliched movie. Nothing about the story is original. Got a character who thinks there’s more than this provincial life? Check. Got an insecure friend who thinks that having a different dream is a betrayal? Check. Have the two best friends repeat what they did in the previous film by getting mad at each other, but obviously going to make up by the end? Check and check. This is a huge trope with Disney and it doesn’t feel fresh this time.

The other biggest problem of the movie is how misleading the advertisements have been. “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” His entire character is all about breaking things. How does one “break” the internet? The possibilities seemed endless. However, in this basically two hour film, Ralph doesn’t “break” the internet until maybe the last half hour of the movie, and that might be a little generous to say. You have to sit through at least three-quarters of the movie before the movie actually gets going. If the movie was titled “Ralph Explores the Internet,” then the movie would have delivered what it promised because that’s mostly what this movie is: Ralph and Vanellope doing stuff in the internet, rather than breaking it. It’s too much build-up to the promised event.

And honestly, even the stuff that they do isn’t all that spectacular. Consider, they go to the internet, and it seems rather promising. The animation is bright and colorful, and certainly makes the universe of the internet feel gigantic. It’s almost on par with COCO. But then obstacles are presented and you can predict the reactions and outcomes. Ralph and Vanellope go to ebay and bid on the Sugar Rush steering wheel by bidding an exorbitant amount of money… which they obviously won’t be able to pay for as there needs to be a credit card to pay for it, which they don’t have. So of course they’re going to get ropped into a “make money by playing video games” ad. One would think that playing this game would be how Ralph and Vanellope break the internet, by winning Slaughter Race, a game meant for a real player logging in, but instead it’s a foreign coding from a source that the game shouldn’t recognize and infects the internet and it’s up to Ralph and Vanellope to stop the spreading… or whatever. That’s just the scenario that comes to mind. But nope, we need Vanellope to bond with Shank… who is WAY too hallow a character for as cool as she looks, but we’ll get to that later. For now, its function is to show Vanellope that there’s more than her provincial life. Last time I’ll reference that, I promise. But then Ralph hates that Slaughter Race is so dangerous and wants a safe way to make money by making videos of himself. It’s all fluff to pad out the run time, even though I’m pretty sure if you cut out all of these scenes, the movie would meet its ninety-minute quota. It’s not as interesting as the movie thinks. The point is, nothing feel like it progresses like it should.

What about the Disney princesses? Do they really do anything? No. No they do not. This scene is basically played out in the trailer. Vanellope is chased by stormtroopers, she glitches inside the princess’ room, and you basically get what you got in the trailer. Making the attempt to address Disney’s tropes and cliches without actually doing anything with that addressing. I don’t know about the rest of you, but the fact that these characters are glorified cameos is a little underwhelming. Sure, they contribute something at the end, and without giving anything away, it’s pretty fun, but it’s only one scene and could have been resolved any other way. If you see this movie, you’ll know what scene I’m referring to. Regardless, it’s not as much fun as it should be. Although when the princesses are challenging Vanellope, asking her if she has daddy issues, and she says that she doesn’t even have a mom, a slew of princesses gasp and exclaim, “Neither do we!” I won’t lie, I got a good laugh out of that one. Still, with such heavy advertisement on it, one would think the princesses would contribute a little more to the story in some way, but… nope, two scenes. That’s all we get.

Now let’s talk about one of the more exciting aspects of the movie, and that was Gal Gadot’s inclusion as Shank. It’s lame. It’s obviously no fault of Gadot’s, but Shank is that obvious throwaway mentor character who is all wise and regal, but… you wouldn’t look at Shank and get that impression. Not that this particular franchise isn’t about not judging books by their covers, but there had to be something that could have been done with her personality. What if she had a more insane, mentally unstable personality. Like, when giving the “follow your dreams” speech, she goes nuts and screams that she has dreams of breaking a stack of ten bricks with her forehead, or something. I don’t know, like a… Randy Savage type of personality. How hilarious would that be? Gal Gadot doing a bad Randy Savage impersonation, and yet is still the wise mentor that Vanellope needs. But… no, she just looks like a street thug, leather jacket and jeans, and is just really nice. That’s so LAME!!! Gadot deserves better, darn you! I love her as Wonder Woman, but she needs to show better range than this! Someone give her something to really chew on, please!

<<<SPOILERS – highlight to reveal>>> [ Now let’s talk about the very thing that this movie advertises: Ralph breaking the internet. It’s a virus that basically duplicates Ralph millions of times into a… dumber, quasi-zombie version of him. This isn’t the worst part of the movie. Oh no, it gets downright inappropriately freaky. See, when Ralph and Vanellope escape the many clones that are after them, they then morph into a giant Ralph. Basically, if you’ve played the video game THE MATRIX: THE PATH OF NEO and remember the final boss of all the Smiths coming together to form one giant Smith, it’s that. Except, here’s the thing. THE MATRIX is a dark movie… er, or is at least darker than a Disney movie. Not that Disney hasn’t gone the grim and uncomfortable route before in their movies, but Wreck-It Ralph is not one of them. It’s a bright, colorful, and fun movie. Very little in this franchise is dark. Or at least, not on this level. When you get up close and personal with Giant Ralph, then you see what it is… all those Ralphs are crawling over each other and it looks… so wrong. Hey, I’m all for Disney making people uncomfortable. If Elsa really does get a girlfriend in FROZEN 2, then I plan to get a bucket of popcorn and read all of the articles crying out that Disney is a bunch of heathens who don’t respect the Christian community and laugh my butt off at them. Hey, they did it with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. Why not? But there has to be a sense of consistency; that this level of disturbing fits within the world and tone that the movie establishes. The movie does not do this successfully. As a result, the ending is dark and disturbing for no reason. I am both confused and ready for my night-terrors. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>

I know it sounds like I kind of hate this movie. The truth is, I don’t. It’s not a… bad movie, per se. Like I said, it’s beautifully animated, and some scenes are rather fun. The race through Slaughter Race, the fact that they got most of the original voice actors for many of the featured Disney princesses, and Jennifer Hale as Cinderella is a significantly awesome detail, as she’s voiced the character in the Cinderella direct-to-DVD sequels, so this movie wins many brownie points on that idea alone. Although, question, why is Merida unintelligible and made fun of like that? I had no problem with understanding her when I saw BRAVE. I wager most kids who saw the movie had no problems with keeping up with her. So… why is she portrayed like that? Anyway… truth is, there are details that I enjoy. The animation is beautiful. The visuals are fun. But this movie feels pretty phoned in sometimes. It’s like they had an idea for a fun movie, but spent so much time on the visual aspect that they forgot to actually write a unique story, which cripples the film like crazy. So, how is this as a recommendation? I will say… kids who are otherwise unseasoned in the ways of storytelling will get a kick out of it. But for those of us who have seen a Disney movie in our lives, this won’t do much. See this movie in theaters only if it’s on a discount day, or at a cheap movie theater. Otherwise, save it for a rental.

My honest rating for RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2: a weak 3/5

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