Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018): The Emoji Movie For Intellectuals

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“Ralph Breaks the Internet” is directed by Phil Johnston (Zootopia, The Brothers Grimsby) and Rich Moore (The Simpsons, Futurama) and stars John C. Reilly (Guardians of the Galaxy, Kong: Skull Island), Sarah Silverman (A Million Ways to Die in the West, Bob’s Burgers), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Keeping Up with the Joneses), Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Jane Lynch (Hollywood Game Night, Glee), Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2, Raiders of the Lost Ark), and Ed O’Neill (Modern Family, Finding Dory). This movie is the sequel to Disney’s 2012 animated hit “Wreck-It Ralph.” On this second go around, in a situation which involves saving Vanellope’s game, “Sugar Rush,” Ralph and Vanellope decide to go on an adventure to the Internet. Throughout the journey we experience some mishaps, attempts at humor, and unfortunately, product placement. But you know, it could be worse, it could be “The Emoji Movie.” We’ll get to that eventually.

Going into “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” I didn’t have truly high expectations from the marketing. As a matter of fact, part of me thought the marketing just plain sucked. The first teaser trailer left me feeling icky. Then again it might really be due to how much I can’t stand the Flo Rida song “Good Feeling.” But who knows? Maybe the next trailer could have kicked total ass, but let me just say that it really did the opposite. Instead, the trailer made me hand my own ass right over to it. To me, once I saw the “Oh My Disney” portion of the trailer, it just really felt like a massive commercial for all the Disney properties. Disney! Disney propaganda! Bring the kids! Go to Disney World! Buy all of our stuff at the Disney store! Pretty soon, after we finish dismantling Fox, we’re gonna buy Lionsgate so that way we can own “The Hunger Games” and have Jennifer Lawrence be stuck as Katniss Everdeen til the day she dies! Oh yeah, we’re gonna reboot “Twilight” too even though everyone knows it’s a complete and total waste of time. But hey! Teen girls! Get em’ in the theater! Money! Money! Money! Money! Money! The last trailer however ended up giving me what I wanted. While the trailer is not like anything I’ve seen for say, “Ready Player One,” it definitely provided what could have been some solid ingredients for a proper “Wreck-It Ralph” installment.

Walking out of the movie, I gotta say, I’m shocked. This movie’s actually pretty great! There’s only one other movie this year that I’ve reacted similarly to, and that’s “Blockers.” It’s a movie with a less than stellar marketing campaign, a movie that a part of me thought was going to suck, and just something had I not been reviewing movies, I’d be more hesitant towards when it comes to spending my money at the cinema. It just so turns out that “Ralph Breaks the Internet” is a solid sequel, continuing the journeys of the characters many viewers knew and loved since the first installment, delivering a story that is just about as enjoyable as its predecessor. And in reality, it is a better version of “The Emoji Movie.”

For those of you who have watched “The Emoji Movie” or know what it is, you’d be aware that it takes place inside a cell phone, where all of the Emojis live. They live in a town called Textopolis and their life is basically being processed and sent through texts. Here in “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” we start off in the same little arcade people know from the first movie, where all of the video game characters live in harmony. As viewers probably know, their daily lives involve being the very characters they were designed to be. Ralph is the continuous building wrecker, Felix is the neverending building fixer, Vanellope is the nonstop racer, and Pac-Man… eats dots. Because that’s what yellow circles do apparently. Then boom! A little bit of chaos goes down, Vanellope’s game, “Sugar Rush,” has to be unplugged because the wheel breaks down. However, Ralph is Vanellope’s best friend, and we all know, best friends are supposed to be there for each other. So Ralph decides it would be a good idea to take a journey alongside Vanellope into the Internet to save her game. The world of the Internet in this movie almost reminds me of the space resort in Wall-E, everything just feels so sleek and it’s all very populated. It’s like a city that receives no pollution. You know, unless you look hard enough. The chemistry between Ralph and Vanellope truly shines in “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” and you can definitely tell they are best friends. This movie even tries to show the power of friendship and how unbreakable of a bond one can have with another person and I’d say the execution of that message is incredibly well done.

Moving away from our leads, let’s talk about one standout new character named Shank. She’s voiced by Gal Gadot and happens to be a street racer in a popular computer game. There’s this one game Ralph and Vanellope come across by the name of “Slaughter Race,” that’s where they meet this character. Seeing her and the gang who she happens to know turned out to be a bigger highlight in this film. Also, when they first meet her, there’s actually a very entertaining chase scene. Look out for it.

Speaking of new, let’s talk about something very old. Disney. I mentioned earlier that one of the trailers to “Ralph Breaks the Internet” was off-putting to me because it has an overload of Disney references. It just felt like a cheap way of pointing out how amazing Disney is. In reality, I think Disney’s kind of overrated. Sure, they own a lot of things I like, but there’s going to be a point where they ruin everything I love. They already partially ruined “Star Wars” for me so there is that. This all starts out somewhat commercialized, but some of it is well executed, and partially realisitc. There is a point where we cut to someone in a comic con panel-like setting. And they ask this question that is the stereotypical version of a deep question that a comic book nerd would ask. That’s all the detail I’ll give related to that, because there’s something else that’s pretty cool in relation to what I just said, but that was a definite highlight.

Another highlight when it comes to this is the scene where we see all the Disney princesses together. I thought at first that this was going to be completely cringeworthy. It was actually brilliant. You know how certain shows on Fox actually make fun of their own network and others associated with it?

THE SIMPSONS
FOX NEWS HOST: “Welcome to Fox News– your voice for evil.” (The Simpsons)

AMERICAN DAD!
ROGER: “Sure, we don’t report the news, we make it. Accuracy is so time-consuming. Fiction is the new fact.”

FAMILY GUY
LOIS: Where’d you hear that?
CHRIS: Fox News.
LOIS: Then it’s a lie. Everything Fox News says is a lie.
CHRIS: But this one’s true mom, you saw it with your own eyes and then you reported it.
LOIS: Even true things, once said on Fox News, become lies.

FUTURAMA
TOUR GUIDE LADY: “To your right, you’ll see 30th Century Fox studios. Fox uses those search lights to blind pilots, then film the resulting plane crashes.”
*SEARCHLIGHT SPOTS PLANE, EVENTUALLY ALLOWING IT TO CRASH
BENDER: *snaps photo* Neat!

Yeah, this is basically the Disney princess scene in a nutshell. Or should I say part of it, because that’s the part that’s going for humor. The other part is a bit more serious and plays a part in Vanellope’s overall arch in the movie. I don’t want to get too much into it, but this movie manages to poke fun at the princesses for their constant need to sing, their desire for men as if the concept of lusting after a guy is their only path in life, and they even throw a little jab at Pixar. If you have ever seen the movie “Brave” you’d know that the main character is Merida (Kelly MacDonald). All of the other princesses have a voice that pretty much anyone (at least any English-speaking individual in the US) can understand. But “Brave” takes place in Scotland and I remember awhile back I was talking to my grandmother or someone else and they said that Scottish people are difficult to understand. This is what I imagine would be a perfect stereotype from perhaps my grandmother’s vision towards the Scottish. OK, whatever, maybe Merida actually said something in Gaelic (according to IMDb), but still, it’s hard to comprehend regardless of whatever standard we are talking about. As a joke, one of the princesses reminds us as an audience, “she’s from the other studio.”

I said we’ll get to the product placement, so you know what? Let’s go nuts. It’s not as blatant or annoying as “The Emoji Movie,” but it’s still a thing. There’s a whole segment that takes place in eBay which is actually very entertaining. In fact, I won’t go into complete detail, but if there is one company, aside from Disney, that this movie is a feature-length commercial for, it’s eBay. There’s a whole segment where we see Ralph and Vanellope bidding against a user in the real world, but they don’t know how eBay works. They think the objective is to bid high numbers and leave it at that. They don’t understand that in reality, you have to bid high, but you also have to be cautious of how high you go and occasionally ask yourself, “how high is too high?”. There’s also this one character called The Eboy, who to mt surprise was played by Sean Giambrone. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s the lead kid in ABC’s “The Goldbergs,” one of my favorite sitcoms on TV right now. Essentially, without spoiling the movie, it is a big fat commercial for eBay. Thankfully, it’s done brilliantly, and not many other brands are coming in to make me have a headache. There are some notable instances here and there from companies such as Amazon, Google, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.

One surprise, considering YouTube, is the fact that it is not even in this movie. Think about it, Google, which owns YouTube, is getting a slice of the promotional cake, but YouTube is getting nothing but an attempt at humor. There is however a part of the movie that involves a fake video sharing site called Buzzztube. It is run by a girl named Yesss, played by Taraji P. Henson. The segment where we go through this happens to parody YouTube by saying things like “trends don’t last,” and “if you want to be popular, repeat whatever is popular.” Hey, Disney, that sounds familiar! To me, that’s one of those things that’s simply funny because it is true.

I don’t want to talk about too much more, because if I do, I’ll spoil some stuff that should be kept as secret. But there’s one thing about this movie that kind of surprised me. There are TWO end credit scenes. I guess having a random appearance from Marvel’s characters can technically make you qualify as a “Marvel movie.” Coincidentally, Stan Lee has a cameo in this film. RIP by the way.

In the end, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” was a pretty fun time. It has its flaws, but they are extremely minor and don’t leave the positives in the dust. And, by the way, I’m a guy, I like adrenaline rush type of movies like “Point Break” or “Baby Driver,” but I will admit, there was a point or two in this film, where I almost felt like tearing up. I won’t get specific, but it’s true. Is this film BETTER than the original? I honestly don’t know. I said in the beginning that this is a solid sequel to a lovely original film, but to be honest, I have not watched the original “Wreck-It Ralph” from start to finish since 2013 so I don’t even know if I can give a completely valid opinion at this point. However, much like the first movie at this point, I’m going to give “Ralph Breaks the Internet” an 8/10. Thanks for reading this review! I just want to remind everyone that it is December, and my head is spinning. I have tons of plans for the month after this and 2019 as a whole. But before we get to that, since I have my countdowns for my best and worst films of the year coming up, there will be some movies I will be watching which have been released this year that might not end up being reviewed. Who knows? Maybe that’s a lie. But I’ve done this for the past couple of years so it is kind of my tradition now. Plus, December’s a big month for me in terms of reviewing blockbusters and Oscar-bait titles. I need to focus on those, because, ya know, priorities. Be sure to follow Scene Before using your email or WordPress account that way you can stay tuned for more great content that unfortunately, breaks the internet less than an irrelevant woman’s sex tape. I want to know, did you see “Ralph Breaks the Internet?” What did you think about it? Or, what is your preferred choice between the “Wreck-It Ralph” movies? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

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