Monday 31 December 2018

Film Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Hey, remember Wreck-It Ralph? Yeah, me neither. Well, Disney went and made another one, and it's essentially a backdoor advert for the rest of its stuff! 

After a key part of the Sugar Rush game snaps in half, Ralph Breaks The Internet sees Wreck-It Ralph (John C Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) journey from their dusty arcade to the world wide web in search of a replacement part on eBay. Along the way they stray into a game called Slaughter Race, where Shank (Gal Gadot) rules the road and anarchy reigns.

Ralph Breaks The Internet carries an important message; that being a good friend sometimes means letting those you love spread their wings and fly away. Ralph's clingy, needy and obsessive tendencies are laid to bare here, and Disney should be applauded for centring their colourful sequel for children around such a flawed and generally unlikeable main character who has to learn and grow. With any luck, children will see past the flashy IP cameos and learn something important that they carry with them into adolescence and adulthood – that selfishing holding someone back hurts you both.

Of course, a key selling point of this film is its eagerness to embrace and celebrate Disney and all of its associated properties. An on-the-nose segue into a diversion that sees Vanellope visit Oh My Disney could not be more forced if it tried, and sees the film bursting at the seams to shove as much IP in your face as physically possible. You've got references and jokes at the expense of Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Winnie the Pooh and most prominently, the esteemed gallery of princesses, from Snow White to Moana.

As contrived as it is, I found myself chuckling along at the bumbling Stormtroopers who act like bouncers and the princesses quizzing Vanellope about what makes her a legitimate Disney princess (turns out, all you need is a decent musical number). It's fun and unashamedly indulgent in reminding audiences that Disney owns the entertainment industry – but hopefully, you'll be having too much fun to care...right?

The Verdict: 5.5/10

When all is said and done, I found myself feeling underwhelmed, confusingly empty and ambivalent by the whole thing. Ralph Breaks The Internet wasn't really made for me, and I didn't really get anything from it aside from an air-conditioned reprieve from the scorching Aussie summer. For parents and adults looking for something with more across the board, I'd recommend Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse instead (if you can still find a showing that is).

Ralph Breaks The Internet is in cinemas across Australia now.

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