It’s been six years since Disney’s hit animation Wreck-It Ralph introduced us to the world of super-strong smashing dude Ralph and the other game characters plugged in at an old video game arcade. Able to venture into each other’s games, Ralph is content with his life of hanging out with his best pal, racing princess Vanellope, but she’s bored of her game and wants more excitement.
She certainly gets it when her game is accidentally broken, potentially leaving her homeless if it gets switched off forever, so she and Ralph set off on an adventure to save it by travelling into the new world – the internet – that has just been plugged in at the arcade.
Disney’s animators have great fun realising what the internet could look like – a floating city of skyscrapers, filled with flying pods to represent people zapping from one website to another and dotted with familiar logos for web companies from Amazon and Google to Facebook and Snapchat. Vanellope and Ralph are accosted by pop-up adverts, go loot hunting in a racing game that’s a little tougher and more grown up than Vanellope’s own Sugar Rush, and learn one of the web’s most important lessons – don’t read the comments – when Ralph becomes a star on Buzztube (their universe’s alternative to YouTube).
Best of all, however, is Vanellope’s visit to the real website Oh My Disney, where she meets all the Disney princesses like Pocahontas, Moana, Cinderella, Rapunzel from Tangled and Ariel from The Little Mermaid (read more about it here). There are lots of laughs to be had (when Brave’s Merida talks in Gaelic, the other princesses explain to Vanellope that they can’t understand her either: “She’s from the otherstudio,” referring to the fact that Brave was a Disney/Pixar film) and the scene featuring the princesses dispelling their girly pre-Me Too-era images is worth the price of admission alone.
There are a few missed opportunities – the mass migration of arcade characters running from a game that has been shut down could have made a few poignant points but is quickly forgotten about – and grown-ups may chuckle at an internet world that’s void of porn (hey, it’s a Disney kids film, folks!) but the movie zips along merrily and only veers slightly off the rails at the end when our digital duo are in danger (parents should see note below).
The central theme of Vanellope’s and Ralph’s friendship, and his reluctance for her to change, is a good one for kids, and they’ll laugh at lots of the jokes and references along with the adults. There are some new characters to enjoy, too – the best being tough racer Shank (Gadot), though we’re a little unsure about the name – and all in all it’s another enjoyable ride for all the family.
Is Ralph Breaks The Internet suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Towards the end of the movie, a computer virus morphs into thousands of Ralphs that merge together to make one big, moaning Ralph-head. Sounds weird? It is, and children under the age of 8 may be freaked out by it.
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