What would you do if you discovered the vast world of the World Wide Web for the first time? Straight to Amazon to grab some bargains? Start a Facebook page? Or, as many probably would, sit and watch funny videos of cats and other animals for hours on end? It’s such a strange feeling to wonder where we would be without the internet, such is our reliance on it in modern times but without it many people’s lives would be very different. With Ralph Breaks The Internet, Disney takes us on a colourful rollercoaster into the realm of the online.
In the sequel – one that many were desperate to see after a six-year wait – our titular wrecker Ralph has found a new purpose in his life thanks to his friendship with Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). After many continuous hours inside Fix-It Felix and Sugar Rush (the vintage arcade games the duo belongs to), they have been getting up to all-sorts “behind the scenes” of Litvak’s Arcade. Circumstances change, however, when Sugar Rush is broken and set for the dump when a new plug is entered into the fray: Wi-Fi, a new paradise of possibilities for our friends to explore and, hopefully, find a way to save Vanellope’s game.
If the first film was the “low-res” version, Ralph Breaks The Internet is its 4K, super high-definition sibling that is as detailed in look as it is in its depiction of true friendship – while, of course, being an absolute wonder of technical precision and glorious visual treats. Coming off of Zootropolis (arguably Disney Animation’s finest film of the 21st century), directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston were always going to find it hard to top their previous collaboration but they have managed to equal it with as much gusto and imagination while once more telling a story of friendship that’s truly sincere and loving while tackling the dangers and obsessions of the internet.
There’s plenty of stand-out moments – the much-anticipated Disney Princesses’ sequence is a joy as is Ralph becoming a vlogging sensation and a thrilling race sequence featuring Gal Gadot’s Shank – but the film is one long flight of fancy that you don’t want to end. There’s pokes a-plenty at some our favourite internet haunts – but it also showcases the power of retro (Disney included) and the innocence of childhood, and serves as a timely reminder of where we have been and where, ultimately, we can go.
It’s always a dangerous thing to pronounce a Disney film the best of the year given the sheer volume of titles they have coming out, but Ralph Breaks The Internet stakes its claim as one of them. A true gem that’s as thoughtful and charming as it is exhilarating that will have audiences spellbound.