These days, most people with access to a movie theater use, rely and basically live on the internet. I know I do. And you wouldn’t be reading this without it. However, a lot of children have a much more limited access to all that is out there on the internet and you may be wondering how in the world could Disney make a film that engages kids when it is about and takes place in the internet. But, come on, it’s Disney. They figured that out.
In this sequel, Vanellope (voice by Sarah Silverman) has lost interest in her game world, so like a good friend, Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) tries to help by making her a new track. But like everything Ralph does, it’s a wreck that ends with the arcade game’s steering wheel broken. With no wheel, the game gets unplugged and all the characters from Sugar Rush are homeless. To try to save Sugar Rush, Ralph and Vanellope venture into the newly plugged in wi-fi and venture across the internet in search of a replacement steering wheel on Ebay. After winning the auction, they hit a snag realizing they need money (not just the big number they shouted out). They embark on a quest trying to earn money playing video games in racing game spliced with Grand Theft Auto, Slaughter Race, where they make a strong ally and decide to make money by getting likes on the Disney fictional brand of YouTube. Along the way, Ralph and Vanellope question their friendship and… you guess it, Ralph breaks the whole internet.
I took my four year old son to see the movie and was curious how he would react to it. His knowledge of the internet is limited to the few cute videos and Facebook posts I show him, so basically nothing. Yes, many jokes sailed over his head. But when I asked him about the story, he understood it as well as a kid his age could. He described YouTube-land as “the place where people give hearts to videos” and OhMyDisney as “Disney World”.
And that’s what I think makes this film work so well. The creatives at Disney took the vast, complicated, completely 2D idea of the internet and turned it into a tangible world that kids can watch their favorite characters interact with in a way we cannot. Every user has a little square headed avatar running around and they can travel to different sites, view Instagram posts or Pinterest boards like an art gallery and even be distracted by pop-ups. The top layer looks like a vast, bright city with towering skyscrapers for the big sites like Google. Best of all, there’s the seedy lower level of the internet, full of spam, the dark web to buy viruses and crumbling buildings boasting dial up connection. The creative team here has thought of it all and kept it delightfully PG.
Since the trailer dropped, everyone has been waiting for the big princesses scene. Vanellope, unaware that she herself is a technically a Disney princess, glitches her way into where they all hang out. It’s fun to see so many classic and loved characters all together and their individual personalities shine in this little bit. Best of all, meeting the princesses helps propel Vanellope on her character arc. It’s not just a cute gimmick for little girls, it actually moves the story forward, and I expect nothing less from Disney these days.
Overall, Ralph Breaks the Internet is a fun, fast paced, visually inspired family film. It’s story about evolving friendship is unique and sweet, just like the characters it revolves around. Now give this post a few likes, shares and get breaking the internet. And I suggest staying after the credits for a good laugh.
“That looks so fun! Can I be a popup? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I?…”