Ralph Breaks the Internet


Viewed – 31 August 2019. DVD

I remember enjoying the first movie. Wreck It Ralph was a great idea, borrowing it must be said, from Pixar’s Monsters Inc yet not quite reaching the potential of its rather brilliant concept. However it delivered first-rate turns from John C Reilly as Donkey Kong inspired video game villain ‘Ralph’ and Sarah Silverman as cute kart racer girl ‘Venelope’. So yeah, I was keen to see what (mis)adventured this likeable duo would get up to next. This brings forth the arrival of wi-fi connectivity to the little arcade that’s home to Ralph, Venelope amongst others (including Pacman, various Street Fighter characters and several more recognisable faces), and after an over-zealous gamer breaks Venelope’s arcade machine steering wheel, a quest to get a new one (from eBay no doubt) is undertaken, with the world wide web ripe for exploration.

I found this built perfectly on the foundations set up in the first movie and delivered exactly what a sequel should … bigger and better. The animation is top-notch and I’ll go as far as to say its sone of the most lush, imaginative and personality-filled CGI I’ve ever witnessed. With the looming shadow of Pixar’s Toy Story 4, any hype for this seemed to get brushed under that carpet at time of release, which is a travesty as in many ways this is the superior movie. Ralph & Venelope are a great double-act and although the story is mostly focused on the plucky racer-girl’s journey of self discovery, Ralph still gets many of the best gags and a brilliant final act (hint…one Ralph is never enough!). The clever mickey-takes and references of the internet and especially of Disney themselves are also well-observed and often laugh out loud funny. The Disney Princesses scene is pure gold.

However the story isn’t exactly all that on paper, but its exploration of a developing friendship is poignantly observed none the less. Yet Disney’s obsession with forcing feminist propaganda into every movie these days raises its head again in the closing moments, but it’s at least more subtle than Avengers: Endgame. Tiny gripes aside though, this was great fun and one of the best animated movies of the year.

Verdict: 4 /5

Wreck-It Ralph


Viewed – 20 June 2013  Blu-ray

CGI has pretty much taken over traditional hand drawn cell animation, and where it hasn’t (such as the movies of Studio Ghibli) it is still used to enhance the art.  Simply put animated movies look stunning.  So these days, they have to bring something to the table new and exciting to stand out in a crowded genre.  Does this one have what it takes?

Wreck-It-Ralph1

Ralph is a video-game villain, modeled it seems on the classic Donkey Kong game he plays the wrecking giant who destroys a tower block, until Fix It Felix (see: Jump Man, aka Mario) comes to the rescue, and ‘fixes’ the tower block until the occupants toss Ralph from the top … game over.  But Ralph is tired of being the villain, and feels he has what it take to be that hero and claim his golden medal so everyone will appreciate him.  This pretty and energetic movie has a feel of Monsters Inc. with a world going on that we are not aware of as human beings, this time an arcade where behind the scenes in ‘game central station’ video-game characters hang out at bars, visit support groups and act like every day folk outside of their respective games.  It’s a very cool idea that I think is only marginally successful.  The many video-game references are more the style of spot the famous and not so famous character, than clever actual jokes of video-game culture.  Yes the writing for such a subject could have been sharper, but relies a little too much on the viewer having a long memory of video-games.  So therefore this slightly alienates those who may not have such a history.

On a plus, we get a likable, adorable little girl (Sarah Silverman) who befriends Ralph in his quest and she’s a great creation, and an Alice In Wonderland inspired King proves an interesting villain.  Animation throughout is slick, with plenty of well-observed gaming detail, even if the more famous faces are disappointingly under-used – licensing perhaps?  Ralph himself, beyond a good performance by John C. Reilly, is also rather forgettable.  That being said what happens and some of the ideas (the Gears of War-like space marines section) and situations are still enjoyable (the final Mario Kart inspired race) and even for a lesser entry in Disney’s cannon – this was difficult not to enjoy.

Verdict:  3.5 /5