Ralph Breaks the Internet outdistances all expectations in a movie that turns the traditional Disney animation formula on its head.
Simply put, and saving you three minutes: It’s the best film I’ve seen all year.
But if you are still here and want more (non-spoiler) detail, how about this?
Ralph Breaks the Internet combines elements of the original Wreck-It Ralph, Ready Player One, Frozen, King Kong, Tangled, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi and transcends its genre.
The official synopsis gives you all you need to know prior to hitting the cinema (i.e. you don’t really need to know too much going in):
“Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2” leaves Litwak’s video arcade behind, venturing into the uncharted, expansive and thrilling world of the internet—which may or may not survive Ralph’s wrecking. Video game bad guy Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah 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 a website entrepreneur named Yesss (voice of Taraji P. Henson), who is the head algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making site “BuzzzTube.” Directed by Rich Moore (“Zootopia,” “Wreck-It Ralph”) and Phil Johnston (co-writer “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Cedar Rapids,” co-writer “Zootopia,”), and produced by Clark Spencer (“Zootopia,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” “Bolt”), “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-Ralph 2” hits theaters on Nov. 21, 2018.
I’ll admit, the first few minutes had me itchy – I have watched the original film so many times I was expecting an Incredibles 2-style pick up where we left off.
This tale expands the Ralph and Vanellope’s world beyond the bounds of their respective games (attitudes) and introduces the pair to the full breadth of the Internet.
Along the way, our heroes encounter every level of entertainment and malevolence the Web has to offer, with cameos from well-known websites, favorite IPs, and trendy URLs.
In truth, this movie is not really Ralph’s story, so that the moniker “Wreck-It Ralph 2” does not fit in the way that Incredibles 2 did.
We see Silverman’s Vanellope “grow up” during this movie.
And while O’Reilly’s titular character grapples with many of the insecurities many middle-aged men fight; the ultimate triumph — it’s Disney movie, after all (transcendent or not) — is shared by the pair, who find their unique perspectives and destinies along the way.
So what makes this film worthy of my personal five-star rating?
Like the aforementioned Star Wars: The Last Jedi — my top film of 2017 — it tested my convictions, held up a mirror, and asked me what I stand for. In short, this film kicked me in the tail and challenged me to be a better person, man, friend, and dad.
But, in the end, we don’t turn to Disney if we want simple; Mickey Mouse was never “Mickey Mouse” in the sarcastic diminutive, after all. And the expertise that went into the production of this film, from script to soundtrack to screen is commendable.
Here’s the kicker, though:
The film is SO “meta,” so layered, and so full of “Easter Eggs,” I daresay that some viewers might not like the challenge, and may walk away — as some did with The Last Jedi — shaking their heads, wondering what exactly they just watched.
That’s fine; they have the original movie to re-watch…
For my money, Ralph Breaks the Internet pushes the MBPS off the chart and has me looking ahead to whatever Walt Disney Animation has in the offing.