Back to what I love to do – movies. By now, everyone knows I’m a sucker for all things Disney and for movies, so there was no way I wasn’t going to see and review this film. Ralph Breaks the Internet is Disney’s latest computer animated feature and picks up the story of Wreck-it-Ralph and Vannellope Von Schweetz six years after they first dazzled us with the adventures of arcade game characters after the arcade closes for the night. In this installment, Vannellope expresses her boredom with doing the same old game over and over every day. Nothing changes and she’d just like something different. Ralph goes into her game and creates a new track for her to race on, but as Ralph is prone to do… things get wrecked. After Vannellope’s game gets damaged, she and Ralph venture to the internet in order to secure parts to fix it. Of course, adventure ensues.
I admit, I am a very big fan of the first movie. It touched on great themes about what makes a family, adoption, friendship, and redemption. Of course I’m that big blubbering guy that tears up when the movie yanks on my heartstrings… every… single… time. I went into Ralph Breaks the Internet with high expectations, hoping that this one would be at least as good as the first. I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed, but this isn’t what I expected either. All of the animation is beautifully done and conveys the atmosphere of every scene perfectly. The voice acting is stellar and the writing delivers. In all, I give Ralph Breaks the Internet my highest recommendation. Go and see it, it’s a lot of fun.
But here’s where the film is different. I kind of expected that this was just going to be a continuation of Ralph and Vannellope’s story in some way, and it is… but it’s also a sort of ending. SO… here’s your SPOILER WARNING! If you haven’t yet seen Ralph Breaks the Internet, stop reading here and skip to the last paragraph for my summation. What follows is very, very spoilery. In their journeys through the internet, Ralph and Vannellope enter a game that seems loosely based on Grand Theft Auto and Vannellope eventually expresses her desire to live in that game and not Sugar Rush, her home racing game. Eventually, after Ralph unleashes a virus on the entire internet by his own insecurities, he learns to accept that relationships change, and that sometimes people come and go in your life. It is a bittersweet message about love and acceptance in times of transition and loss. In fact, I couldn’t help thinking of my own son who is still having a difficult time accepting the death of his pet cat Frank six months after the fact. It’s to the point that he just told Santa that the only thing he wants for Christmas is to have Frank back. (I’m not crying! You’re crying!) How does one explain that well-known passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” to an 8 y/o? For that matter, how does any one of us learn to deal with loss and change? I think that’s an easier task for a Christian with the assurances that God is with us in all times and all places.
If you skipped the spoiler, welcome back. Overall, Ralph Breaks the Internet is a very good, very fun film. It has some of those redemption themes from the first film, but also delves into ideas about loss, change, and acceptance. And boy are there a lot of Easter eggs to look out for. It’s worth a second viewing just for that. Catch it in theaters, and get the large popcorn, extra butter.