Since first getting a Facebook account on August 2008, immediately before sophomore year of high school, my social media history has been an interesting one as it helped me tremendously with friendships. With ten years’ worth experience in the communal web, I can easily say Ralph Breaks the Internet can barely understand friendship, nor decide whether it prefers to sustain friendships in person or over technology. While there’s a place for it, the internet is also an easy place to start heated pointless arguments over whether Angelina Jolie or Alicia Vikander portrayed Lara Croft better.
The problem is that this mega surface-level feature celebrates the fake glory of the impersonal digital saturation, giving greater development to the flat Disney princesses amplified by the trailers. The lack of real characterizations is covered up by blaring Demi Lovato’s “Let it Go“ rendition for the kids and throwing around pop culture gags for the parents. It isn’t always successful however, as some jokes, such as one 1960s Batman transition into princess pajamas, may bore parents with the inconsistent personality, while other pieces of dated media will confuse kids ten years from now. Other efforts to satisfy everyone with an otherwise fun musical number is less imaginative than any Disney classic readily available on Amazon Prime.
While both Vanellope and Ralph do wind up tarnishing each other’s wobbly story arcs, everyone behind the microphones still express a new immersive side to social media, packed with one climactic animation achievement after another. While constant, the modern trends are still utilized to the best of the directors’ ability to push the plot forward, most effectively being the realistic graphics of modern online games that promise money. It sounds exactly how a civilized internet city would sound, including a “Which Disney Princess Are You” personality test interpreted as a game show, alongside some lickity-split live auctions at eBay. In between, the terrific Taraji P. Hensen, voice of the dysfunctional head running BuzzTube’s algorithms, graces the ears. It makes me anxious to see what LinkedIn would look like!
These clever setups are all used to say that blocky video games ought to fear the internet, like how any common experience on Facebook starts wonderous, then defies expectations after going deeper. It’s demonstrated by Ralph and Vanellope’s first cheery impressions past the WiFi, the scariest the public web gets being a couple of Stormtrooper guards inside Oh My Disney dot com. Needed humanity furiously breathes in the always happy static web, particularly an “Ask Groot Anything” panel that even then isn’t nearly as hilarious as a post-credit scene that serves as a punchline to various humans controlling these tacky cube-headed avatars. With that level of passion in creativity, it’s forgivable that Disney fails to point out more of their own princess clichés without briefly embracing some racist stereotypes.
Now, just one last tidbit of praise before getting to the meat of this movie’s issue: Sarah Silverman’s adorable liveliness as Vanellope allows the sweet moments between her and Ralph to shine, especially when she starts nervously glitching. It contrasts Bill Hader’s quickly paced newspaper boy voice of a spam bot, which is just one of many details that springs the vast world to glowing life.
Okay now, back to my Facebook account, I would still be lost today without its convenience of helping me acquire better interpersonal sympathy. Hence, my understanding of people far surpasses how these screenwriters understood the logic of their script, which I would argue even matches the logic of that weird 1993 live action Super Mario Bros. adaptation. For the sake of plot convenience, Vanellope successfully drives a new car for the very first time, a level of carelessness that removes depth from the newer characters. Not to mention Disney’s familiar emotional beats are here without any genuine screenwriting risks taken.
Laws seem pretty loosey-goosey around the world of Ralph and Vanellope’s arcade, with the sole security between them and the WiFi being a few police lines. Heck, the whole reason the two must go into the web in the first place is because the Sugar Rush track drove itself, causing the wheel to break, a fracture that has never happened before in the history of arcade games. There’s also a virus creator with a tumor-twin who becomes a butt for predictable tumor puns, and can simply conjure up viruses on a whim; shouldn’t dangerous virtual threats then happen more frequently? While we’re at discussion about our own world, which seems to be the subject of this movie, how is it Wreck-It Ralph doesn’t exist… yet all other Disney properties do? Somebody please explain the confusion!
The only thing that can really be made sense of right now is that Ralph Breaks the Internet’s attempt to modernize Disney really doesn’t work to alter any minds despite its best of attempts. As electronic communication continues evolving, as video game movies continue to see a green light, as more unnecessary change comes our way, Disney’s just raises more questions than answers.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Disney Movies. Disney. Web. <https://movies.disney.com/ralph-breaks-the-internet-wreck-it-ralph-2>.
Sarto, Dan. “At the center of the controversy is the claimed whitewashing of Princes Tiana, shown in this image from ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet,’ along with other Disney princesses, before the studio’s reported reanimation of her character.” Digital image. AWN. 24 Sept 2018. Web. <https://www.awn.com/news/disney-modifies-princess-tiana-ralph-breaks-internet-amid-whitewashing-criticism>.