I love the moment the lights dim, the curtain widens and the movie starts. Going to the cinema is one of life's great activities and should be enjoyed as much as possible.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is a sequel to the 2012 film Wreck It Ralph, an animated film about a big-hearted arcade game character named Ralph (John C. Reilly) who leaves his game and goes on an adventure in another game called Sugar Rush. By the end of the first film, Ralph has finally found friendship with Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), the princess in Sugar Rush. The film was based on 1980s arcade games, creating a clever world where each of the game characters goes to 'work' when the game is being played, but then live out their lives amongst the unseen world in the network within the arcade. The jokes worked well for kids, but adults loved the film too, as the many 80s game references had great nostalgic qualities, as well as being clever and creative, not just making endless references to 80s pop culture, such as what the disappointing Ready Player One did earlier this year.
A sequel was always on the cards for Ralph and whilst it took six years, it's good that the studio did work hard to make a good follow up instead of just a lazy knockoff of the first film (like the Incredible 2 was earlier this year). So, did they manage to make a successful follow-up? Pretty much.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is a solid follow up to the original. It doesn't flow as nicely as the first, but it does expand the world, without forgetting what the first film was about. There is more focus on the two main characters in this one, and the story moves along at a solid pace, although it does get bogged down a little at times.
This time, Ralph and Venellope goes into the internet in search of a replacement part for the Sugar Rush game on eBay. The internet provides the writers with a new way of using the world set up in the first one, but in a more modern context and the internet is full of things to parody and reference. Pop up ads are well used, and I enjoyed jokes such as 'sassy house wives want to meet you'. The film spends sometime pointing out the positives and negatives of the internet and has a good lesson for kids in there, whilst being entertaining.
The film adds many new characters, although the new addition that really stands out is Shank (voiced by Gal Gadot). There was also a group of Disney Princesses who have a very good scene in the middle of the film, and there is talk of a possible spin off movie focusing on them, which I could see working.
What the film lacks, is a villain. The story revolves around the problem of the Sugar Rush game being broken and Ralph and Venellope trying to solve the problem, but there is no real villain to overcome and the plot suffers a little as a result. The first film had King Candy as the villain and he worked very well against Ralph, who is a bad guy in his game, working as the hero. Here, its more Ralph's insecurities and Venellope's desires that create problems and it felt to me like the story needed more.
Kids and big kids should enjoy the film. It's a worthy follow up to a very cool original film and is worth the trip to the cinemas for the whole family.