Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Disney’s latest animated release, Ralph Breaks the Internet, marks the sequel to an effectively six-year-old film that was proclaimed as one of the most memorable works from Disney Animation Studios, the Academy-Award nominated Wreck-It Ralph. With such high acclaim across the board, there is a distinct level of pressure that returning directors Phil Johnston and Rich Moore must be feeling. However, both the filmmakers and cast are able to make good on the promises that a sequel to the 2012 hit would forebode, delivering a charming experience that is propelled by its aesthetically pleasing world. But while its world builds in spectacular fashion, its story quickly collapses into a repetitive and formulaic nature that when compared to recent animated releases from Disney, including Pixar, feels out-of-touch and confusingly forgettable. For a movie that has multiple scenes that include fourth-wall breaking lines with Vanellope and an extensive roster of Disney princesses, the fact that this sequel quickly fades into blank space should be wary for Disney. For every step that Ralph Breaks the Internet makes to forward its rich and lively world, it consequently takes a step back from telling a cohesive story that does justice to its two lead characters.
Telling the story of Vanellope and Ralph after a traumatic event where Vanellope’s game is effectively broken and in risk of being removed permanently, the film immediately sends the audience scrawling into the Internet, a wise choice as the earliest sequences began placing an uncomfortable impression of déjà vu. As seen in the trailers, the Internet is a scrawling place that is charming at every turn. At my relatively early screening full of press, laughs and gasps constantly echoed in the auditorium as Ralph turned his head one direction to reveal Amazon and the other to reveal a charming swarm of bluebirds soaring towards Twitter. These sequences are what make the film work on an objective level. However, it is also what makes it fail on an artistic level.
With such a grandeur set of impressions towards the Internet, it seems as if the filmmakers felt as if they needed to cram every possible form of web browsing into the plot as well as a healthy dose of Disney product placement. It leads to a scenario where the film is oddly disjointed, particularly in