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A theatrical sequel to an animated Disney movie is a rare thing. In fact, it's only happened once before. Twice if you count Fantasia 2000. Ralph Breaks the Internet brings back the video game characters of Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz and sends them to explore the world of the internet. How does the sequel stack up to the original? The official CinemaBlend review gave the new movie four out of five stars and our own Eric Eisenberg felt that, while it may not be quite as good as the original Wreck-It Ralph, it was still a great time spent with great characters.
The narrative doesn't quite have the same tight structure/organization that the first film did, doing a lot more bouncing around from place to place road movie-style, but it remains solid on the immense strength of its character development.
As with the best of Disney's animated films, the movie isn't simply "for kids" as it deals with some fairly serious topics that the youngest viewers might not understand on first viewing, but their parents certainly will. The setting of the film is a bight, shiny new playground with the physical representation of the internet built to look like a massive technological city, with every name you know from Google to Pinterest represented as a building. But the movie isn't about that, it's about Ralph and Vanellope, and their relationship, and that's where most here would agree the movie shines, though we disagree about just how much.
Not everybody at CinemaBlend fell in love with Ralph Breaks the Internet. Managing Director Sean O'Connell feels the sequel really suffers in comparison to the original. He doesn't feel the new movie is bad, just disappointing.
Man, I wish I liked Ralph Break The Internet more than I actually do. As a huge fan of the original, I appreciated more time in the presence of Ralph and Vanellope. Wreck-it Ralph was such an original, inventive and sentimental story, and it actually felt like the sequel had the germ of a perfect idea -- sending the engaging franchise leads into the vast Internet. So what happened? The creativity is missing on Ralph Breaks the Internet, as the mission to retrieve Vanellope's steering wheel from eBay felt forced and thin. And the product placement throughout the story wasn't Meta, it was tacky. The laughs and heart are dialed back here, so while Breaks isn't a bad movie (by any stretch), it drastically pales in comparison to its immediate predecessor.
While Sean didn't feel that Raph Breaks the Intenet was a worthy sequel, with everything in the film feeling less than Wreck-It Ralph. His opinion is not universal. CinemaBlend project manager Cody Beck actually felt the sequel exceeded the original, thanks, in part, to a continuous stream of laugh moments and references to both Disney and internet culture.
Ralph Breaks The Internet is an even better journey into the Wreck-It Ralph universe than its predecessor. It's full of laughs for all ages and is not shy about poking fun at past Disney films and archetypes. Plus bonus jokes and easter eggs for avid Disney fans or anyone who has witnessed the evolution of the internet.
At the heart of Ralph Breaks the Internet is a story of friendship. Many fell in love with the story of Ralph and Vanellope. It's the reason the sequel exists in the first place, but CinemaBlend News Director Jessica Rawden felt that ultimately the sequel's constant focus on the brands of the internet doesn't do that relationship any favors.
Gamers will still find plenty of the fun nods present in Wreck-It Ralph in its follow-up Ralph Breaks The Internet, but as the story moves into the world wide web, the continual branding somewhat tarnishes the satisfying friendship story between Ralph and Vanellope. Stick around for the post-credits, though. They're a blast.
As the resident CinemaBlend Disney expert and also the Games editor, it would seem fairly obvious that the original Wreck-It Ralph was a particularly special film for me. In the end, I have to say I really enjoyed the sequel, and if it doesn't reach the level of the best Disney films, that's only because the best Disney films, like Wreck-It Ralph, have set a pretty high bar.
Ralph Breaks the Internet isn't quite as good as the first, though that might be only because there's now an expectation of greatness. It's funny, heartwarming, and I'm going to have to see it again just to catch all the Disney Princess jokes that I missed due to audience laughter.
It's certainly true that the "branding" that is present all over the film is a bit overdone, but ultimately that's just window dressing. Almost none of it is actually important to the film. What is important is Ralph and Vanellope and the ultimate message the movie is trying to convey. When that message takes center stage, Ralph Breaks the Internet is as good as the original, as good as Zootopia, as good as anytime Disney has had something important to say. However, Ralph Breaks the Internet feels like a movie of two halves, and the first half is a zany road movie that takes a bit too long to get to its ultimate goal, which is the second half with the important things to say.
Also, while the fourth wall adjacent portion of the movie that sends Vanellope among Disney's Princesses has been part of the marketing, there's luckily a lot more than has been shown in the trailers, and it's all hilarious. It's also not simply there for strictly punchline reasons, as the film takes a serious look at its own legacy and takes its licks where necessary regarding the parts of Disney history that maybe haven't aged well.
In the end, it feels like most of just arguing over exactly what degree of quality Ralph Breaks the Internet actually has. Nobody is calling it a bad movie. It seems likely that most everybody will enjoy the time they spent with it. In the end, the only question will be whether you like it or love it.