(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)
(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)
SW SCORE: 44
4.5 out of 5 🐙
The sequel to Wreck It Ralph, a wonderful story set in a novel setting about the monotony of society’s expectations and the power of true friendship to overcome them, is the rare follow-up that comes close to as good or as good as the first installment. In this movie, Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman) are enjoying their life in the old-fashioned (now) video arcade until modernization threatens their homes (their old video games) and they have to flee to the internet to survive. When they arrive in the brave new world, they join many other pre-internet video game characters in the drolly named “gameless” community.
Upon their arrival, they are bombarded by a million references and jokes that are just fantastic. It reminded me of the endless references in Ready Player One. Here are some that particularly tickled me:
- Loads of product placement (I know that seems like something weird to like but they had to do it and they just leaned in hardcore and made it kind of an insane times square type setting which made me laugh)
- The search bar is a wonderfully little nerdy librarian fellow and when Ralph and Vanellope try to get answers from him, he keeps incorrectly guessing what they are about to ask. It’s hilarious.
- A search for ballet tights lists “desmondstutu.com”
- The big baby clothes section is called lean-gih-ree
- Ralph is mesmerized by pop-up ads because they are novel and exciting to him
- A shark came out of a manhole to eat a dog – shades of Lake Placid
- This hilarious exchange between famed Disney Princess Ariel and Vanellope:
Ariel: did you make a deal with an underwater witch for those human legs?
Vanellope: No! Who would do that?
- The “comments” room was predictably mean and sad.
- The Dark Net was amazing – I won’t say more
- There was a tear-inducing cameo of Stan Lee in the Disneyland section
- The Disney princesses save the man for once
- The frog kisses the sleeping prince
There’s a lot more where that came from, but if I keep going, y’all are gonna get even more annoyed.
(spoiler alert again)
The major emotional crush of the movie centers around the following question:
“What if his feelings get hurt so bad he doesn’t want to be my friend anymore?”
The ending involves Ralph having to say goodbye to Vanellope because she has found her true home in a new part of the internet where Ralph does not belong. Letting your friends go in order to “keep” them is a message that really resonates with me. This isn’t really very germane to the review but I’ve been trying to cherish friendships that ended by remembering them for the good time we had, not that fact that we will likely not have a good time again. If the writers had actually made it so Vanellope and Ralph would never be able to see it again, it would have made this movie one of the all-time greatest animated movies ever. It would have been devastating. It would have been heartbreaking. It would have wrecked my soul.
But Vanellope and Ralph will still be able to visit each other, and while that dulls the power of the ending (ala the compromise in Stranger than Fiction), it’s ok. It would have been too sad for the kids watching it and for the adults with sappy hearts like me. It’s ok. It’s still a great movie. It’s just not legendary.
Do not leave when the credits start. The bunny scene is hilarious. Trust me.
And don’t worry. Ralph didn’t really break the internet. You’re reading this, aren’t you?
(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.
(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)
(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so
(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)