Arts & Style

Ralph Breaks the Internet brings online culture to big screen

Ralph Breaks the Internet, the sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph, truly embodies what it feels like to grow up in an age when the internet rules supreme.

Gathering a notable 89 percent approval rating among film critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and earning an impressive $84.75 million in its first five days of release, Ralph Breaks the Internet is Walt Disney Animation Studios’ most successful sequel to date.

Returning as the main characters are John C. Reilly as Ralph and Sarah Silverman as Vanellope von Schweetz, a racer in the fictional video game Sugar Rush. Ralph and Vanellope are two best friends who made an unlikely connection in the first movie.

While Ralph’s actions in the previous film are deeply beneficial to Vanellope, his actions in the second film — doing what he thinks is best for her — bring about her game’s unplugging. The script by Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon does a good job in setting up the plot.

Ralph’s actions are not out of character for him, but the same cannot be said for Vanellope. In her original introduction, the character was naïve, but had a clear understanding of street smarts and the way her game operated. Her actions in the sequel do not demonstrate that intelligence as she purposely interferes with the controls of the human player, leading to her game breaking.

The movie is great for kids dealing with the difficulties of drifting friendships and moving on. Ralph does not want Vanellope to leave their home and wants her to stay by his side forever. She wants to move on and live a more exciting life. They go back and forth with this theme of separation, teaching kids that while separation can be difficult, the growth can be necessary for friendships to succeed. It brings to light the negative aspects of friendship and what happens if a friend becomes jealous and insecure.

An action resulting from a negative friendship can end up being extremely harmful to both parties involved, even if there is a foundation of kindness and deep connection.

It could be argued that the film’s trailer, which included a scene starring Disney’s famous princesses, is what really captured the attention of fans and drew them to see this movie, garnering over 17 million views on Disney Animation’s official YouTube account.

Trying to see where Vanellope would fit in the realm of the princesses, Rapunzel — as portrayed in the movie Tangled — delivers the iconic trailer line, “Do people assume all your problems got solved because a big strong man showed up?” This scene is perhaps one of the most interesting in the movie.

Well-scripted and keeping true to the personalities of the princesses, the scene’s every line is perfectly delivered in a way that offers a brief respite from the continuous drama. In true Disney princess spirit, the characters assist Vanellope in discovering her true dreams through song and later band together to help Ralph in a further embodiment of the theme of strong female presence in the movie.

Coming out six years after the original, Ralph Breaks the Internet truly makes fun of the internet culture mostly appreciated by millennials and Generation Z. Memes, pop-ups, spam mail and the dark web all play a part in this adventurous movie.

Ralph Breaks the Internet brings into question internet usage and how much time people spend online.

Ralph experiences what it means to go viral, and finds out how quickly the internet can get distracted from something it previously loved. He makes quick viral videos, performing the pepper-eating challenge, makeup videos and even editing his head on a llama, all to earn the likes he wants.

Ralph also has to deal with trolls and mean comments. The way in which the online negativity is dealt with could have been better or stronger; instead of simply telling Ralph to ignore it, the writers could have put in some message about online bullying, noting how prevalent it is and how to stop it or deal with it when it gets worse.

Ralph Breaks the Internet is overall a good children’s movie that demonstrates the positive qualities of friendship, and what happens when a friendship turns negative. The film also makes clear how the internet can be a useful source of information and friendship as long as it is used properly.

December 7, 2018

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Amy Ford


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