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Review: “Ralph Breaks the Internet” spreads classic Disney joy

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Review: “Ralph Breaks the Internet” spreads classic Disney joy

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By Samantha Barry

As a self-proclaimed Disney fanatic, I’m always eager to head to the theaters and see what the House of Mouse has come up with next. That being said, when I heard that a sequel to Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 2012 film, “Wreck-It Ralph,” was in the works, I was less than thrilled. I thought “Wreck-It Ralph” was a solid movie and I enjoyed the world and characters it created, but I hardly thought it warranted a sequel.

Given my lack of usually intense Disney enthusiasm, I was pleasantly surprised with “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” The film added a new layer of depth to its main characters, Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) and Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman), and introduced new ones that became every bit as lovable.

The story takes place six years after the conclusion of the first film. During that time, Ralph and Vanellope have essentially been doing the same thing every day. They wake up, go to work at their games, meet back up later and spend the night messing around in the other games at Litwak’s Family Fun Center & Arcade.

For Ralph, this is more than enough for him to feel satisfied. He finally has a best friend who he loves spending time with and is content with his life and his game. Vanellope, on the other hand, does not feel the same. She is bored with her game and wants more out of life – a very relatable feeling.

Her game ends up in trouble and this sends her and Ralph out into the wild world of the internet to try and fix it. Disney’s world-building skills are in full swing as Ralph and Vanellope navigate through a brightly colored, never-ending metropolis full of product placements and references that extend the idea of the internet beyond the screen.

On their quest, they encounter Yesss (voice of Taraji P. Henson) who helps guide them through the trend-making site “Buzzztube.” Perhaps the best new face in the movie is Shank (voiced by Gal Gadot). A badass female racer from a game called “Slaughter House,” Shank becomes a mentor for Vanellope and aids her in her struggle to find purpose in life.

Vanellope’s desire for a more adventurous and fulfilling life is one of the driving forces of the movie. She embraces the exciting nature of the internet, while Ralph approaches it with extreme caution and wants nothing more than to go back to the comfort of his home in Litwak’s arcade. This creates a wedge in their relationship and puts their friendship to the test.

Funny and visually stimulating, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” explores the complex nature of friendships and what it means to be someone’s best (or only) friend. Ralph is often clingy to Vanellope but over the course of the movie learns that friends can spend time apart and still be close. The pair also learns that friends don’t need to have the same dreams. That does not in any way mean they can’t be friends anymore.

The movie is aimed at younger audiences and its friendship themes are simple enough where kids can understand them, but they are also universal enough to resonate with older audiences. The lessons that Ralph and Vanellope learn can be applied to any friendship, romantic relationship or parent/child relationship of any age.

Any college freshman who has just left their friends from home or anyone who is missing someone they are close to should go see this movie. It’s a reminder that relationships can last through the longest of distances and the toughest of times.

 

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Review: “Ralph Breaks the Internet” spreads classic Disney joy