Steve’s Wonderful Reviews of Disney: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Release Date: November 21st, 2018

Inspiration: N/A

Budget: $175 million

Domestic Gross: $201.1 million

Worldwide Gross: $529.3 million

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%

IMDB Score: 7.1/10

Storyline (per IMDB): 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.

Pre-Watching Thoughts: We continue on as we come to the first official sequel since Fantasia 2000 depending on if you think 2011’s Winnie-the-Pooh is considered a sequel, and it is a bit interesting that Wreck-It Ralph was given a sequel so close to the original but it makes sense when you see the references in the film. After being on such a hot streak for the last few films, it will be interesting to see how the film holds up even though it has only been 2 years since its release and we will see if it can match up to the first film.

Voice Cast: For the majority of the Disney film canon, we have had the films either feature very few returning actors or a decent amount of returning actors, but for this film we have quite possibly the largest group of returning actors for any film to this point. Obviously, a lot of them are voicing characters they’ve done in other films and they are being featured in this film, but there are plenty of returning actors from the first film as we have the return of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, and Jane Lynch to voice Ralph, Vanellope, Felix, and Calhoun respectively. We also have the return of Ed O’Neill who voices Mr. Litwak again and we have Rich Moore who voices Zangief and Sour Bill, and then we have Phil Johnston who voices the Surge Protector and then we have all the actresses reprising their Disney Princess roles including Jodi Benson, Paige O’Hara, Linda Larkin, Irene Bedard, Ming-Na Wen, Anika Noni Rose, Mandy Moore, Idina Menzel, and Kristen Bell. We also have Maurice LaMarche who reprises his role as Tapper and then we also have the return of Brad Garrett who voices Eeyore in a minor role, and then we have Nicole Scherzinger who has a cameo in the post-credits scene. We also have the return of Alan Tudyk who voices Knowsmore and then we have John DiMaggio who voices Arthur the virus, and I can’t think of another film that has had this many returning actors. We do have some newcomers joining us as we have Gal Gadot who voices Shank in her first animated film appearance, and then we have Taraji P. Henson who voices Yesss in one of her first appearances in an animated film. Next, we have Alfred Molina who voices Double Dan as he was hitting the peak of his career by this point, and then we have Melissa Villasenor who voices Taffyta Muttonfudge taking over the role from Mindy Kaling. We then have Bill Hader who voices J.P. Spamley though he went uncredited for some weird reason, and then we have Jennifer Hale, Kate Higgins, and Pamela Ribon who voice Cinderella, Aurora, and Snow White to fill out the princesses. We then have Kelly MacDonald who voices Merida and then we have Tim Allen who voices his memorable role Buzz Lightyear, and we also have Anthony Daniels and Vin Diesel who voice C-3PO and Groot respectively. We also have some minor roles as we have Roger Craig Smith who voices Sonic, Sean Giambrone who voices the “eboy”, and Flula Borg who voices Maybe, and then we have Ali Wong, Timothy Simons, GloZell Green, and Hamish Blake who voice the other characters in Slaughter Race. We then have Dianna Argon who voices the news anchor and finally we have cameo appearances by YouTube stars Colleen Ballinger, Dani Fernandez, and Tiffany Herrera. We would obviously have to go back, but this might legit have the biggest cast of any of the Disney films which makes sense given how many characters this film has in it and all the different references it makes.

Hero/Prince: We have our first repeat hero since Bernard and Bianca in the two Rescuers films and that is of course our favorite bad guy Wreck-It Ralph, who continues on his daily routine while continuing to grow his friendship with Vanellope. After hearing that she is bored with her current status in “Sugar Rush”, Ralph tries to create a new track for her though he inadvertently leads to the game’s steering wheel being broken off and the game is unplugged. After learning that a replacement can be bought on eBay, Ralph and Vanellope go into the internet to buy it though they realize they don’t have the money to pay for it, so they first meet with J.P. Spamley who tells them to steal a car from “Slaughter Race”. They go into the game and find the car though they are stopped by Shank who helps them by recording a video of Ralph and uploading it onto BuzzzTube, and Ralph creates more videos to raise the money they need until he learns that Vanellope wants to stay in “Slaughter Race”. Feeling betrayed, Ralph goes to the dark web and is given a virus which he releases into the game, but he regrets his decision and saves Vanellope before the game is reset though Vanellope is upset with him and leaves him. The virus replicates Ralph’s insecurities and creates thousands of clones that overwhelm the internet, and they morph into a giant Ralph monster though Ralph defeats it after coming to terms with his insecurities. He and Vanellope reconcile as Ralph returns to the arcade and his game while keeping in touch with Vanellope through their video chats. After Ralph spent the last film coming to terms with who he really is and accepting that he is a bad guy in his game, he now has to do some more growing as he becomes too attached to Vanellope though he genuinely wants to help her. He becomes overprotective of her to the point that it nearly destroys their friendship, but in the end he realizes that even though they would be apart, they can still remain friends as he accepts that Vanellope must follow her own path. We have seen Ralph do a lot of growing between the two films and it will be interesting to see how he ranks amongst the other heroes and princes especially due to being in two films.

Princess: Amazingly enough, we have our first repeat princess to talk about and that is of course Vanellope von Schweetz, who once again becomes the main character of “Sugar Rush” following the events of the last film though she maintains her glitch abilities. She continues to be friends with Ralph though feels that her life has become too boring and repetitive, and Ralph tries to help her by creating a new track though this accidentally leads to the game’s steering wheel being destroyed and the game is unplugged. They learn of a replacement they can get on eBay which leads Ralph and Vanellope to go into the internet to get it, but they lack the funds so they meet with a pop-up who offers $40,000 if they retrieve a car from “Slaughter Race”. They enter the game and take the car though are stopped by the car’s owner Shank as Vanellope finds herself enjoying the game, and Shank makes a video of Ralph that is uploaded onto BuzzzTube which leads to them making more videos to earn money. Vanellope heads to to find viewers and encounters the Disney Princesses whom she befriends after revealing she is a princess, and after receiving some advice from them she learns that she belongs in “Slaughter Rush” though is hesitant to tell Ralph after he tells her they made enough money. She confesses to Shank her desire to stay which Ralph overhears and he releases a virus into the game that copies Vanellope’s glitch, but Ralph rescues her before the game resets and Vanellope learns he put the virus in which causes her to snap at him and she destroys the medal she made for him. After the virus replicates Ralph’s insecurity into thousands of clones, they chase after Vanellope and merge into a giant monster as they nearly kill Ralph until Vanellope agrees to be with them though Ralph refuses and accepts that Vanellope should follow her own path which leads to the clones disappearing. Shank programs Vanellope into “Slaughter Race” and Ralph gives her half of the broken medal while keeping the other half himself, and Ralph returns to the arcade and stays in touch with Vanellope through video chat. Much like Ralph, Vanellope has done a lot of growing since the last film as she realizes that her life has become too routine and she needs something different, but this conflicts with Ralph who is fine with the same routine to the point that she nearly ends her friendship with him after he releases the virus in “Slaughter Race”. In the end, he comes to terms with things and their friendship remains strong even though they are separate from each other, and while Vanellope might not rank high since she’s not a traditional princess she is a very complex and deep character.

Villain: When looking at the film, there really isn’t a clear cut villain in it like King Candy in the previous film, but while there is not a true villain we do have an evil entity to talk about and that is the virus called Arthur. It is created by Double Dan and feeds off insecurities as it is given to Ralph who releases it in “Slaughter Race”, and the virus zooms in on Vanellope’s glitch and copies it as it infects the game though it is rejected after a server reboot. It escapes from the game and replicates Ralph’s insecurities as he creates thousands of clones that overwhelm the internet, and they go after Vanellope to the point that they morph into a giant monster. They attempt to kill Ralph until Vanellope pacifies it by agreeing to stay friends with them and remaining by their side, but Ralph realizes Vanellope must be able to make her own choices and he overcomes his insecurity which causes the clones to disappear and the internet is restored. Arthur is about as basic as you can get as it is simply a virus meant to cause damage to whatever it is released into, and as a result it is not too memorable as a villain especially when compared to the other villains in the canon.

Other Characters: I had mentioned earlier that the first Wreck-It Ralph had probably the most characters of any of the Disney films, and now we up the ante here as this film adds a ton more characters though many of them are very familiar. Obviously, many of the characters of the first film return here including Fix-It Felix, Sgt. Jane Calhoun, the other characters of “Fix-It Felix” and “Sugar Rush” with the characters in the latter being homeless briefly when the game is unplugged, and then there are the other characters from the different arcade games. We also have the return of Mr. Litwak who still runs the arcade though he upgrades it to feature internet, and we also have the kids who play in the arcade though there are plenty of new faces. We then have the newcomers to the film including the characters in “Slaughter Race” led by Shank who is impressed by Vanellope’s driving abilities, and after everything returns to normal she reprograms the game to include Vanellope as a character. We then have Yesss who is the algorithm that determines which videos on BuzzzTube become popular, and she works with Ralph and Vanellope to get Ralph’s videos hearts which translate to cash. Next, we have Knowsmore who serves as the search function of the internet and whose autofill is on overdrive, and he assists Ralph and Vanellope with their searching during their stay. We then have the pop-up J.P. Spamley who first tries to get Ralph and Vanellope to steal a car from “Slaughter Race” before introducing Ralph to Double Dan, and we have Double Dan stays in the dark web and creates viruses as he gives Ralph the virus called Arthur. We then have all the characters who inhabit including those from the properties Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and the Muppets, and this includes all the Disney princesses who befriend Vanellope and later save Ralph after his clones disappear. Finally, we have all the others that we see throughout the film like the avatars that represent people on the internet, and the various characters that represent the numerous websites and platforms on the internet. While the majority of them are just there as background noise and only a handful of them are important, it was cool to see this world filled out and basically showcase that the internet is its own little world.

Songs: Unlike the first film where it had theme songs for the games and an end credits song, we do flip it a bit though we do have a song for the credits and that is the song “Zero” performed by Imagine Dragons. But we do have a traditional song here and that is “A Place Called Slaughter Race” sung by Vanellope as she sings about her dilemma to find a new place, and it is a fun song and a bit of a playful jab at Disney since the princesses basically told Vanellope she would end up singing a song like this since that’s what princesses do. Again, a film like this doesn’t need songs in it as they really wouldn’t fit, but having the one was fine since again it was basically Disney poking fun at themselves.

Plot: When coming up with a good plot for a sequel, you have to make sure that it doesn’t feel too much like the original one and the sequel ends up being just a retread of the first one though with a film like this, it is pretty easy to branch out and create something different with the world you have created. For the plot of this film, it picks up a few years after the first one where Ralph and Vanellope continue to be friends while being part of their games though Vanellope feels stuck in a rut, and after Ralph tries to help her he inadvertently leads to “Sugar Rush” being unplugged. They decide to go on the internet and head to eBay where they find a replacement steering wheel though they lack the money, and they meet a pop-up who offers them $40,000 to steal a car from “Slaughter Race”. They enter the game and steal the car though they are caught by Shank and her crew though Shank befriends Vanellope due to her racing skills, and she records a video of Ralph and uploads it to BuzzzTube. They meet Yesss who has Ralph make more videos to earn hearts which would translate into cash, and at one point Vanellope goes to where she meets the princesses and befriends them. Vanellope realizes she wants to stay and be in “Slaughter Race” which she confesses to Shank though Ralph overhears this as well, and Ralph goes to the dark web and receives a virus that can replicate insecurities. He releases it into the game and it copies Vanellope’s glitch as it nearly destroys the game though Ralph saves her just before the game reboots, and Vanellope learns he put the virus there and is upset with him as she throws away the medal she made for him and runs away. The virus escapes the game and copies Ralph’s insecurities as it creates thousands of clones and they chase after Vanellope, and they merge into a giant monster and nearly kill Ralph until Vanellope tries to pacify it though Ralph finally accepts that Vanellope needs to follow her own dreams and he comes to terms with his insecurities. The clones disappear and the princesses save Ralph as Vanellope is programmed into “Slaughter Race” and Ralph returns to the arcade, and Ralph stays in touch with Vanellope as he keeps her updated on the goings on in the arcade. The plot was pretty good as after focusing on Ralph and his growth in the last film, they put a lot of focus on Vanellope and her growing desires while showing that Ralph has become too content and dependent on his friendship. It is a story that a lot of people can relate to and they also continue to build the world around these characters, and it will be interesting to see if they continue on with it and possibly complete the series as a trilogy.

Random Watching Thoughts: I believe that this is the longest film in the canon at just shy of 2 hours; It looks like the arcade hasn’t changed that much since the last film; How many characters are yellow, round, and eat dots? Of course it’s Pac-Man; I’ve heard of Mrs. Pac-Man, but I never knew there was a Baby Pac-Man; Ralph still chowing down those cherries; Vanellope makes a good point about Zangief waxing his body; I like how they treat drinking root beer is equivalent to drinking beer; I don’t recall a “Tron” game being in the first film; Vanellope digging deep into the meaning of life considering she is just a video game character; That’s 3 points for Ralph; Ralph wouldn’t change anything at all unless he is able to not have to go to work; Why would they have a blood pressure machine in an arcade?; It must’ve been a long time since a new thing has been plugged in given how many characters are there to watch it; An arranged marriage game; The Surge Protector wants them to fear the Wi-Fi because it is new and different; Considering how old “Fix-It Felix Jr.” is, I don’t know how much you can really change it; Ralph has not had many friends if he misunderstands Vanellope’s comments like that; What kind of name is Swati?; She has gotten this track down to a t; Taffyta starts crying even though the race isn’t over; Ralph did a pretty good job creating a makeshift track with just his fists; If the arcade is open, shouldn’t Ralph be in his game?; Not the best time for Vanellope driving this new track while the player is trying to play; Swati has got some strength if she was able to pull the steering wheel right off; She just lost the race and is unaware of what happened to the game, but Vanellope is so excited for driving on the new track; That wheel must be pretty old if it just broke in half that easily; Those kids wasted no time in searching the internet to find a new wheel; $200 for a video game steering wheel?; The Surge Protector is having a normal day until all the characters from “Sugar Rush” come flying out before it gets unplugged; I don’t know where a lot of those characters would fit; Of course Gene has got pie; A pillow igloo or a pigloo; Ralph clearly doesn’t understand what the game meant to Vanellope even after his own game nearly got unplugged a few years ago due to his actions; It is interesting that they have Vanellope glitch out when she gets stressed out; How could Gene not realize that Sour Bill is not a green olive?; Clearly, no one wants to take the racers in because they are kids and immature; Felix and Calhoun were more than willing to jump in and take the racers under their care; Felix thinks being a good parent is to be a best friend to the child, give them everything they want, and give them lots of love; Taffyta has not seen a lot of TVs if she thinks  a painting of fruit is the TV; Ralph still thinks Vanellope will show up even though she sounded like she didn’t want to; A bit of foreshadowing where Tapper basically tells Ralph he’s being insecure; Ralph still won’t completely admit that it was in essence his fault; Felix driven to drink root beer; Ralph trying to remember eBay by him and Felix saying “eeeee-oh-boy”; Ralph wants to help Vanellope and Felix wants to get rid of the racers; Ralph took Felix saying he will cover for him a little too far; Of all the games to use as a scapegoat, they had to choose the Whack-a-Mole; They obviously don’t know that there are just in the router that leads to the internet; So Litwak’s password is “highsc0re”; They had to put Ralph in the smallest capsule they could create; “Now With WiF1”; Snapchat, Amazon, Fandango, YouTube, IMDb; Great “Wizard of Oz” reference; Let’s Go Phishing; Netgear; Knowsmore; He knows a lot about that user if he knows her daughter used to play soccer; Saying his autofill is a touch aggressive is an understatement; Knowsmore is so happy to have someone actually thank them; Fines for speeds less than 3 megabytes per second; Facebook hidden in the background though it has the biggest book; Carvana; Myspace actually still exists even in 2018; They have a site called Buzzztube that parodies YouTube, yet they have YouTube there as well; So the headquarters for Twitter is basically a bunch of trees; Ralph mistakes Google for goggles; The eBay store is about the same size as a real-life IKEA store; Interesting they advertise an adult dating site in a film aimed at children; $850 for a stuffed beaver?; $10 for an artificial hip; Someone actually spent $400 for a corn chip shaped like Beyonce Knowles; They haven’t dealt with auctions at all it seems; So according to Vanellope, lingerie is clothes for big babies; The wheel went from $200 to $275; You wonder what the guy bidding for the wheel actually wants it for; That guy was like “How am I supposed to beat that?”; The auctioneer is like “They are winning, why are they still bidding?”; Los Aburridos, California; BuzzzyBucks; She’s really going to laugh about this; Ralph tries to wreck a holographic ad; That sign lands on an avatar and the real person loses their internet connection; That a-ha moment where they can find the pop-up advertising getting rich by playing video games; Pop-up Blockers; Ralph is clearly too big for all of these vehicles; He stretches his arm out to get the sign to Ralph’s height; Loot hunters; $40,000 is a lot to pay for to earn a specific car in a video game; Kick the Bucket fried chicken restaurant; A shark in a sewer just ate a bulldog; They spent 31 hours trying to find this car, clearly someone doesn’t have a social life; Shank AKA: The Queen of the Road, Skills: Superhuman Speed, Style for Miles, Favorite Weapon: Smarts; That player is lucky his TV didn’t break when he threw his controller at it; Not often that a criminal can offer great words of wisdom; Department of Noise; Ralph nearly blew the whole thing when he couldn’t remember that he wasn’t Larry; Butcher Boy was so threatening yet Vanellope completely schooled him; Vanellope had better be careful because a destroyed car is worthless; Shank is focused on getting her car back yet can’t help but be impressed with Vanellope and her driving; Ralph trying to put Vanellope over yet she is embarrassed when he describes it in detail; Shank can’t help but respect Ralph for showing vulnerability; They don’t realize that Ralph has spent his whole life in an arcade and hasn’t looked at anything on the internet ever; Ralph asks Vanellope to name one cool thing about Shank and she lists off multiple things; They spent 16 hours talking to Spamley and being in “Slaughter Race”?; Chewbacca Dad; The head of Al Gore; She wants nothing to do with them until Maybe tells her how many hearts it got; Ralph was trending for 15 seconds; Disney really tapping into the market of popular videos in 2018; Ralph is the G.O.A.T.; Up to the Meme-ment; Ralph basically taking all the challenges and doing them himself, but it’s cool because he’s an 80s-era video game star doing them; Ralph even doing a Bob Ross impression; Yesss actually has an entire Pop-Up army; Instagram; Yesss changed clothes pretty quickly; Peanut butter and bacon; More foreshadowing about Ralph being too insecure; Rise & Shine Inn; Lucky 7 Motel; La Casita Suites; Let’s face it, this was just an excuse for Disney to show off how many properties they own; Of course Eeyore would be sitting there; That one avatar really goes in depth with his question, probably not the best idea having Groot being the one to answer; They would have Stormtroopers acting as police; Random appearance of the ESPN app logo; Cool moment seeing traditional animation in a CGI-animated film; If Marvel is involved, you are going to get a Stan Lee appearance; Great blending of generations with Grumpy, Tinker Bell, and Heihei together; Air Bud pavilion; Cinderella breaks her shoe to use as a weapon; Princess Vanellope von Schweetz of the “Sugar Rush” von Schweetzes; Pocahontas’ hair blowing when there is no wind; They sounded way too excited when they said they had no parents; Awesome reference to old school Batman with the Disney logo and the music; Just Let It Go; Ariel referencing “Part of Your World” talking about her shirt which has the different words on it; #Shiny; Vanellope singing about the steering wheel to the tune of “O, Christmas Tree”; Even Meeko didn’t like her singing; Nap Queen; Finish Each Other’s Sandwiches; So you have to go to a form of water and stare at it to have a moment of reflection and start singing; Mulan is clearly the emo girl of the princesses; C-3PO has been reduced to being the princesses’ butler; Merida is clearly the odd one out of the group to the point that they say she’s from the “other studio”; Pancake Milkshake Fun Set; “Open Sesabees”; Ralph basically forcing people to watch his videos; What’s not to like about a cat chasing its own tail?; Ralph made a bad decision entering the “comments” section; Yesss does make a point that the internet brings out the worst in people; Ralph has learned to have thick skin in regards to being hated since he has Vanellope as a friend; I don’t think staring at a puddle of water is the way to go about this; Now she finally gets her song after realizing she doesn’t want to return to her normal life; Literally a Dollar Store; They certainly did a good job in doing this musical number even if it is in essence a parody; Nice subtle touch having Vanellope put the phone on mute so she can’t hear Ralph, but he can still hear them; Vanellope just bared her soul and Ralph thinks she was brainwashed; Ralph thinks that a virus that affects a game like “Tron” can also affect a game like “Slaughter Race”; Spamley says to keep a low profile before calling out for his helper; Friendster; Spamley tells Ralph not to look at Dan’s little brother and yet he does it himself; To be fair, Ralph can be pretty stupid; Vanellope can’t hide her nervousness due to her glitching; I like how the player has their name over their avatar; In Vanellope’s defense, that big mascot did look a lot like Ralph; Vanellope is only 30% insecure; Even though Vanellope isn’t in the code, she shouldn’t force the game to crash like that; Vanellope went from being upset thinking she ruined everything to being pissed off at Ralph when he admitted what he did; Ralph forgot to keep the virus in the game; Of course Ralph would be 100% insecure and all that foreshadowing comes into play here; No, not the medal; That’s a lot of Ralph clones; Ralph went from being a viral sensation to being a viral infection; Ralph was able to find her pretty quick with all those clones chasing her; Could you imagine all of those Ralph clones in therapy?; A co-dependent pied piper situation; It maybe an empty gesture, but at least he still said it; Yesss did put it into perspective when she told Vanellope what Ralph did for her; They picked up a lot of speed when they bunched up together; It’s Ralphzilla!!!; That’s a long ramp that Yesss and Vanellope have to run down; Wikipedia gets a book for its building; Another old school movie reference with Ralphzilla climbing the building like King Kong; Ralph riding the Gmail express; Vanellope willingly giving herself up to save Ralph; It took having a bunch of clones threatening them for Ralph to realize that he is insecure and needs to let Vanellope make her own decisions; He was so happy until all the clones disappeared and he was falling to his death; Kudos to Spamley for trying to save Ralph; Of course the princesses would just happen to be there to save Ralph; Royal Mattresses; That brief moment when you thought Tiana would kiss Ralph before having Naveen as a frog kiss him; Ralph would think the frog was Frogger; Moana saying “You’re Welcome”; Ralph thinks highly of himself to call himself the smartest guy on the internet aside from Knowsmore; Dad joke; Like true BFFs, they each have half of the medal; Nice shot there of the two pieces coming together to make the whole medal; Waving as much as they can as she goes up to the steps; At least they still got the steering wheel to the arcade and fixed “Sugar Rush”; Felix and Calhoun did a great job in making the racers more behaved. They tell the Surge Protector how to be good parents yet you can’t hear them due to the racers going by; So Zangief has his own book club; I just noticed that Ralph’s book is upside down; I think this is the first time Calhoun has been seen wearing normal clothes; Ralph sharing his internet famous burnt pie with everyone; If the upgrade is in two months, then they have to be in November; Farting is such sweet sorrow; That kid makes a good point about scenes that are in the trailer yet don’t appear in the actual movie; The look on that rabbit’s face when Vanellope brings out the pancakes is priceless; That was pretty traumatizing to that girl to see the rabbit explode; You can’t have a movie about the internet without getting Rickrolled to “Never Gonna Give You Up”.

Overall Thoughts: Overall, this ended up being a really good film and was on par with the first one which doesn’t happen too often. Most times, the sequel can either surpass the original or fall flat and not meet the expectations of the original, but this film really hit that sweet spot where it was equal to the original. Obviously, most of the film was just Disney poking some fun at themselves while also embracing the internet culture that was hot in 2018, and it made sense that this film was relatively close to the first one so it didn’t feel outdated or too late. The 2010s have been a great decade for Disney as they were riding high and preparing to launch arguably their most ambitious project to date, and we will see if our next film can end the decade on a strong note. As for this film, it is a really fun film and on par with the first one.

Final Grade: 8.5/10