Ralph Breaks the Internet (Rated C)
Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson
Genre: Animated comedy adventure
Three weeks at number one?!
Disney’s new animated comedy-adventure, “Ralph Breaks the Internet”, is breaking the box office, with an impressive run in the United States.
With three straight weekends of domination, it joins only a handful of films this year to achieve this measure of success, tying “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Crazy Rich Asians”. Only “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” at four weeks (and which was actually released late last year), and the year’s biggest success, “Black Panther”, at a whopping five weeks, have held onto the top spot longer.
Of course, part of the reason for the success of “Ralph” is very weak competition, especially with there being nothing of any real significance or worth spending money on opened in wide release last weekend (sorry, “The Possession of Hannah Grace”, but, whatever!). Furthermore, the much-anticipated, potential blockbusters like “Mary Poppins Returns” and “Aquaman” won’t open until this coming week.
But could that be the only reason it’s done so well?
I can’t even say I was initially interested in watching this sequel to 2012’s “Wreck-It Ralph”, but three weeks at number one can’t be ignored. Plus, it was either this or that “Hannah Grace” nonsense, or nothing at all.
Perhaps my enthusiasm had been tempered because I had only seen parts of “Wreck-It Ralph”, the Oscar-nominated (for Best Animated Feature) flick about characters from a fictional 1980s video arcade game called Fix-It Felix Jr. Ralph is the “bad-guy” in the game, who is tired of losing to good guy Felix, and he decides he wants to be a hero.
It is indeed a very well-regarded picture, and the portions I’ve seen I have actually enjoyed.
But thanks to “Ralph Breaks the Internet”, I can declare that if “Wreck-It Ralph” is even half as entertaining, then I absolutely must see it in its entirety. And thus, it is not by chance that this fantastic sequel is doing so well in theaters.
While having seen “Wreck It Ralph” is not exactly a prerequisite for “Ralph Breaks the Internet”, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have even a passing knowledge of the original, especially to better understand the motivations of the endearing Vanellope character, voiced by Sarah Silverman
In the “Ralph Breaks the Internet”, video game bad-guy turned good-guy Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (Silverman) must risk it all by traveling to the World Wide Web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope’s video game, “Sugar Rush.” In way over their heads, Ralph and Vanellope rely on the citizens of the Internet – the netizens – to help navigate their way, including an entrepreneur named Yesss (Taraji P. Henson), who is the head algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making site BuzzzTube.
While from the Walt Disney Animation Studios side of the Disney Empire – as opposed to the Pixar Animation Studios arm – this is a very Pixar-like production, and not just in relation to its being computer-animated, but also in its themes and style.
As with some of the best-loved Pixar films, “Ralph” is tackling a central theme – The Internet – and examining it sometimes subtly, and in many ways quite overtly, and in astounding detail. It is holding up a mirror to this omnipresent force that is seemingly controlling the human race, and it is at once celebrating and mocking this.
While it’s played for laughs, the message is clear – we are now slaves to the Internet, often just mindless drones, easily manipulated by the latest trending video. But “Ralph” cleverly seldom loses its whimsy on this heady topic.
Perhaps the most imaginative aspect of all is how it manages to mine and incorporate Disney history. What would initially and on the surface seem like gratuitous, self-serving promotion, becomes a refreshing opportunity for the giant mega-corporation to poke fun at itself, and seek to make amends for what many have felt have been some very poor messages over the decades.
The film actually features every single Disney princess ever! From Snow White straight down to the sisters in “Frozen”! They’re voiced by all the original talent – except for those actresses who are now deceased. And the moments they share with the very 21st Century Vanellope are priceless. If you’ve ever watched any of those Disney princess movies, you’re going to have to make a point to see this!
All of this, including outstanding voice work from Silverman and Reilly, contribute to “Ralph Breaks the Internet” being one of the funniest and most enjoyable movies of the year. While perhaps not in the same league as similarly introspective animated classics like the “Toy Story” series and “Up”, it is much lighter and more fun. And while the kids may enjoy the kooky animation and spirited action, this one is really a prize for the adults.
Don’t be too surprised if it manages to claim a fourth victory this weekend!