Six years ago, Wreck-It Ralph hit theaters and audiences were introduced to Litwak’s Arcade and its eclectic crew of video game characters, including bad guy-turned-good Ralph and feisty little racer Vanellope von Schweetz. Soon we’ll dive back into their colorful video game world when Ralph Breaks the Internet hits theaters just before Thanksgiving on November 21st.
This time, the action isn’t limited to their arcade home. When the steering wheel on Candy Kart breaks, Mr. Litwak decides to pull the plug on the game – permanently. Ralph and Vanellope go on a desperate search across the internet to track down a steering wheel before time runs out and Vanellope loses her game forever. But the exposure to all sorts of new experiences in the wild, wide world of the internet causes a rift in Ralph and Vanellope’s friendship when Vanellope realizes she’s no longer content to just be a little Candy Kart racer. As the adventurous Vanellope yearns for more than their life at Litwak’s Arcade, homebody Ralph must learn how to deal with his insecurities and accept that friendships change.
The movie is as heartwarming and tongue-in-cheek as we’ve come to expect from Disney animated films. The visuals are delightfully imaginative and the animators clearly had fun envisioning the stylized playground of the internet. So is it worth seeing? Absolutely. Here are three reasons why Ralph Breaks the Internet is the perfect family film for the Thanksgiving holidays.
1. The Scenes With The Disney Princesses
Say what you will about Disney, you can’t deny that it’s self-aware of both its strengths and its flaws. Let’s be honest, it’s only been within the last few years that Disney has stopped creating outdated, damsel in distress storylines for its flock of capable princesses. To its credit, Disney knows that, and it has a good time poking gentle fun at itself. The scene where Vanellope meets the princesses (and a later scene with the princesses I’ll not spoil here) makes the entire movie worth it.
Fun fact!: For a lengthy period of time after Disney started branding them together, the princesses never looked at each other or acknowledged one another thanks to Roy Disney being against their mass marketing. Not so with the princesses of 2018. They all live together, hang out, interact, and – as we learn when Vanellope glitches her way into their rooms – spring into action like a well-oiled machine to defend their turf (Cinderella has a particularly fun trick that might have been picked up in a bar brawl). As they pepper the practical Vanellope with increasingly bizarre questions (“Were you poisoned? Cursed? Kidnapped and enslaved??”), the tongue-in-cheek awareness of the writing creates humor that is layered enough to get a laugh out of adults while still tickling the funny bone of kids.
2. The Visualization Of The Internet
If you could imagine the internet as a city, what would it look like? Close your eyes and think about it and I guarantee you it still wouldn’t be half as delightful and clever as what was dreamed up for Ralph Breaks the Internet. Our obsession with and dependence on the internet are both gleefully exploited and mined for visual gags in the sequel. Much like with the Disney princess scenes, a self-aware sense of humor permeates the concept of the good ol’ World Wide Web with interactions that make you acutely, uncomfortably aware of just how much time you spend scrolling mindlessly through YouTube even as you laugh at yourself. Leave it to Disney to elicit belly laughs at the same time it makes you existentially question the nature of your relationship with digital media.
3. The Lessons About Friendship And Letting Go
“There’s no law saying best friends have to have the same dreams.” This bit of wisdom is imparted to Vanellope by her new friend and idol, Shank, as the energetic little racer struggles with how to tell Ralph the truth: She wants to stay in Shank’s video game, Slaughter Race, instead of going back home to Litwak’s with Ralph. It’s a fantastical setup for the real-life scenario of friends growing up and wanting different things. It can be tough when somebody you’re inseparable with starts to pull away, and difficult to understand that paths diverging from one another doesn’t mean the friendship is over, but simply changing. Ralph’s struggle with wanting his friend to be happy while trying not to take it personally is all too relatable to anyone who has ever dealt with insecurity. The moralizing can be a little heavy-handed (it’s still a Disney kid movie, after all) but the simplicity of the message is a great one for kids to hear – and a nice reminder for adults.
With as much charm as the original and a world built by Disney’s boundless collective imagination, it’s well worth a trip to the theater over the Thanksgiving break.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is in theaters on November 21st. Buy your tickets now!
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