Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 (PG)
Starring the voices of John C Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P Henson
Directed by Rich Moore & Phil Johnston
The original 2012 Wreck-It Ralph is a midlife crisis movie, about an eponymous Donkey Kong-meets-Homer Simpson arcade game villain (voiced by the adorakably doleful John C Reilly) who’s so sick of being the bad guy that he embarks on an existential quest to reinvent himself as a nice guy.
In the energetic and playful follow-up, again directed by The Simpsons alum Rich Moore (with helming duties shared with Zootopia scribe Phil Johnston), it’s Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), Ralph’s squeaky, pint-sized BFF and cuddly speed demon who encounters a transformative experience.
When her game-cum-home Sugar Rush faces imminent destruction, Vanellope asks, “If I don’t have my game, who am I?” Cheem, man. Anyhoo, to save her world, she and Ralph head for the Internet — via Wi-Fi — where they hope to bid for a spare part the damaged Sugar Rush arcade machine on eBay. And to do that, they have to raise moolah by becoming a viral sensation.
Along the way, they meet of a bunch of Netizens — including Taraji P Henson’s Yesss, an algorithm of a trend-making portal; Gal Gadot’s Shank, the leader of a racing game called Slaughter Race); and Alfred Molina’s Double Dan, a Jabba the Hutt-looking virus peddler. (Look out for a cameo by Stan Lee!)
Like the first movie, Ralph Breaks The Internet has something for both kids and adults. The little ones will be thrilled by the eye-candy (the ‘Net is this insane Coruscant-like megapolis, a dazzlingly visual cacophony filled with skyscrapers representing real and made-up brands), while — and this is important for parents who have to drag their children to the movies — the grown-ups will find solace in the self-referential meta-humour.
One uproarious inside gag that’s sure to please everyone involves Vanellope venturing into the Oh My Disney website (sweet mother of monkey milk, self-promotion!) where she runs into 13 of Disney’s princesses — from Snow White to Pocahontas to Mulan — and learns about some hard truths about female empowerment.
It’s an Avengers moment that will bring tears of joy of some folks. (It’s okay to cry…it’ll be our little secret.) (***1/2)
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Welcome to the Internet!
Head of Story Josie Trinidad discusses three key set-pieces in Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.