‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ wrecks expectations


Graphic courtesy of Jessica Rao

Yuzuki Okuda and Hira Baig


The animated film, Ralph Breaks the Internet, directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston showcases the extensive internet system through an adventure with Ralph (John C. Reilly) and his best friend, Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). These two arcade characters, in an attempt to save Vanellope’s game “Sugar Rush”, travel out of their arcade and into the web where they find a whole different world. This is the long awaited sequel to Wreck-It Ralph, released in 2012, a huge hit, but sadly, a lack of character empathy made it unable to live up to the high standards set in the previous film.

The original Wreck-It Ralph movie is mainly characterized by its appeal to old-fashioned video games and a vintage feel. Nonetheless, it brought forward a fresh new idea and was a hit in the movie industry and among kids, by introducing a world inside the games that we play. It focused on the development of the relationship between Ralph and Vanellope and how friendship is the most valuable medal. In the new movie, a lot of the ideas that gave charm the the old movie lost their hold, and nothing really new or revolutionary was introduced. It is most appropriately fitted as a continuation and it just expands the idea of a virtual world and the importance of friendship. As a result, the impact of the movie was not as significant as the old movie, but it was still memorable and did a good job of representing the complexity and vastness of the internet.

In conveying the essence of the internet, it was necessary in Ralph Breaks the Internet to showcase many companies that are eminent in the web, like Google, instagram, and eBay. This idea had the potential of getting out of control, making the film just a huge advertisement. However, the film never completely focused on one company and many of the sites and apps that people are familiar with, often times hung out in the background, allowing people to realize them but not immersing it completely into the movie. Granted, there were some instances where a company and site felt slightly advertised. However, in comparison to what other movies, like the Emoji Movie, had done, this movie seemed like they had done a good job in keeping commercial interests out of the film.

Another aspect that gave the movie some identity was the amount of creativity present throughout it. Many scenes took different aspects present in our media and crafted beautiful representations of them, which was reflected in the dialogue and animation of the movie. They expressed the internet and how it works as a large urban city, with individual sites standing as buildings and skyscrapers. Having people bouncing around and going to sites that they liked and also sometimes being flown to a completely different “building” with a single click was creative and showed what the internet is truly like.

Also the amount of jokes and references made the film enjoyable, and that they were targeted toward all audiences, not just kids and millennials. The jokes were beautifully crafted, mocking the simple yet dumb things that people seem to enjoy on the internet, like yelling goat videos.

Even though the animation was beautiful, there were a couple of gaping plot holes in the structure of the movie that went unanswered. Certain aspects of Ralph’s character were dramatized, making him seem more immature and unempathetic than how he was depicted as in the original movie. While attempting to be more creative, the basic structure of the movie was lacking. They emphasized comedy, and while the movie was very enjoyable in that aspect, many scenes lacked continuity and were dramatized to the point where a true message was hard to derive. Because of the creativity and comedy, the plot itself didn’t follow itself and the reader is left unsatisfied in its disconnection from the characters.

Gearing the perspective on the internet, the film had a fair representation of the power the internet holds, both good and bad. The movie conveyed how the internet, with one click could save a person, but also kill them. The internet is shown as a tool that can allow a person to find their passion in life and what they’ve always wanted. It shows how it can be a place full of dreams and where people can find supporters, people who truly understand them, and a place where people can express themselves freely. If the internet is used in the right way, it has the potential to save someone’s entire life.

However, the film did not just show the exciting side of the internet but went on to show how the internet could easily get out of control, like with buying things off the internet and how people can be hurt by words posted on to social media. It also conveys how the extensive connections that the web provides can help people but can also easily increase people’s insecurities or fears that they have in them. This movie was also a platform to send a message to kids of the impact small actions in the internet can have.

Even though the film’s plot holes and characters left a dissatisfaction at the end of the movie, it gave an effort to send a message and express the essence of what the internet should be. It was not as impactful as the previous film, but it worked teach the younger generation the correct way to use this new tool called the internet.