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Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 - DVD Review

Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

FOUR years after Wreck-It Ralph first charmed audiences of all ages with its nostalgia-coated video-game hero, the sequel arrives to dazzle once more in equally breathless fashion.

But while hugely entertaining and frequently inspired, there are elements to be wary of too. Product placement is rife, there are some genuinely frightening moments that could unsettle younger children and not every great idea is explored in the way that it could have been.

Taken at face value, though, Ralph Breaks The Internet is a romp that offers eye candy galore, plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and heart-warming messages about friendship that a worth taking home.

Six years after the first film, Wreck-It Ralph (John C Reilly) and arcade racer Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) are continuing to indulge in their daily routine of work by day and hanging out by night. But while Ralph has found true contentment, Vanellope pines for something more… something different and challenging.

When Ralph tries to provide this, and inadvertently contributes to the breaking of Vanellope’s Sugar Rush racing game, the two are forced to head into the Internet in a bid to acquire the missing piece they need to get plugged back in: a steering wheel available on eBay.

But navigating the Internet and its various distractions and perils proves more difficult than they possibly imagined, whilst also opening up a wider world for Vanellope that she could only have dreamt existed.

Given its setting, it’s perhaps no surprise that this sequel to Wreck-It Ralph has more relevance to contemporary audiences than its retro-leaning original. And co-directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston toss in plenty to give older minds to think about, from the dangers of the world wide web to parental and existential angst.

But perhaps mindful of their core target audience, as well as future advertising revenue in this consumer-driven world, they seldom go the whole hog in hammering home their points. The dangers of web surfing, viruses, virtual reality friendships are hinted at, rather than properly exposed.

While corporate giants such as eBay, Google, Pinterest and, yes, Disney, also get to bask in a somewhat rose-tinted light. Lesser films have been hammered for being so commercially aware.

It is almost hypocritical, then, to admit I was suckered in… as most people will be. The Disney section of the film, in which every princess (complete with original voice performer) makes a cameo, along with several Star Wars, Avengers and Big Hero 6 characters, is an absolute blast – and one of several inspired moments.

While gags that reference Google and eBay are genuinely funny, if not at the expense of any of these corporations.

Strong, too, is the central relationship between Ralph and Vanellope, which is given time to develop and be challenged. There is at least one genuinely heart-breaking moment between them, as well as several touching asides, to ensure that you know the film’s heart is in the right place.

Newcomer Gal Gadot, as a Grand Theft Auto-type racer called Shank is also a bonus, as are several of the returning characters, including Felix and Calhoun (Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch) who find themselves becoming inadvertent parents to Sugar Rush’s homeless racers.

There’s even a crackerjack song, penned by the great Alan Menken, to get excited about, which brings a bit of welcome subversion to the whole Disney princess ‘thing’. While the depiction of those princesses, much like the Vanellope character herself, is nicely post-feminist, casting them all in a feistier light.

Hence, while it’s right to be mindful of some of the more corporate elements, as well as the shortcomings inherent in its failure to properly explore some of its deeper themes, Ralph Breaks The Internet still rates as a triumphant return for a beloved set of characters that will charm, exhilarate and wildly entertain on its own terms.

Certificate: PG
Running time: 1hr 56mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: April 1, 2019