Review: Wreck-It Ralph 2 - Ralph Breaks the Internet

Today is the day we have been waiting for since last year's D23 Expo, where it was revealed that the original voices of the Disney Princesses would be reunited for the Wreck-It Ralph sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet. There are a lot of different things I want to comment on after seeing this movie last night, so my review is going to cover two very different aspects. Since this is a princess blog, the first half of my review will cover the Disney Princess scenes in the film, which is the reason that many of us were excited about seeing it in the first place. If you just want to know about the movie itself, feel free to scroll down to the second half of my review, where I will discuss the plot and my overall enjoyment of it.

Ralph Breaks the Internet foreshadows its big princess reveal by showing two generic video game princess characters in the background of the opening scenes. Is Wreck-It Ralph a Disney Princess movie? Technically, yes. Vanellope is revealed to be a princess at the end of the original film when we learn that Turbo reprogrammed her coding to hide her royal status. However, she chooses to forgo the gown and title for her comfy clothes and spunky attitude. For that reason, she was not included in Disney Princess merchandise until this movie, where the animated heroines play a major role. When the Disney Princesses meet Vanellope for the first time, it's no surprise that they have trouble understanding just what kind of a princess she is. She doesn't match most of the stereotypes such as being cursed or finding true love, but they come to accept her after she reveals that everyone thought her problems were solved when a "big strong man" showed up, something that comes up again in a big way during the movie's climax.

The second half of the scene, in which the princesses wear their comfy pajamas and hoodies, was cut short from what was allegedly shown at the D23 Expo. According to eyewitnesses, there was originally a section where the princesses discussed their secret flaws, such as Snow White needing glasses and Jasmine being allergic to cats despite having a pet tiger. Afterward, Vanellope was supposed to say something along the lines of "I thought you were all boring and perfect, but you're just as messed up as the rest of us!" None of that was included in the movie. It particularly doesn't make sense to cut this because a doll set that the Disney Store released of this scene included a pair of glasses for Snow White and an inhaler for Jasmine, which will be confusing to anyone purchasing it who didn't attend the Expo. Even though there was a joke during the end credits about the film not including all the scenes that were in the trailers, I have to say I felt a little disappointed about not being able to watch the scene in its entirety. Another teaser video that was not included in the movie was the famous princess selfie scene that Disney used as the new social media covers for their princess pages. It included a cameo from Pocahontas's raccoon, Meeko, revealing that he bites.

The princesses show up again to save the day during the climax. It was pretty ridiculous, but I won't spoil it for those of you who are eager to see what kind of role the princesses will play in Ralph and Vanellope's story. The scene was entirely about deconstructing the "Damsel in Distress" stereotype that the Disney Princesses have had for many years. The way they went about it was so forced and over the top that I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. Though I'm sure many princess fans will find it hilarious, it had an overwhelming air of fan service. Fortunately, there were other aspects of the princesses that didn't feel forced, such as when they taught Vanellope that being a Disney Princess means singing about your heart's desire, culminating in a surprise new musical number from the legendary Alan Menken!

Ralph Breaks the Internet is about Ralph and Vanellope entering the world of the internet through the arcade's new Wi-Fi system to purchase a replacement steering wheel from eBay for Vanellope's game, Sugar Rush. Ralph is determined to save Vanellope's game because he can't imagine his life without her. It gets major props for being the first Disney movie I've seen in a while that does not invoke the same story formula that they've been using for roughly the past five years. The conflict is very much internal, focusing on Ralph's unbreakable bond with Vanellope and his determination to keep her close to him no matter what it takes. It makes sense that Ralph would be overly clingy. If you recall from the first movie, no one was very nice to him until he met her due to his character being forced into the role of the villain in his own game. Someone who finally gets a taste of true friendship after so many years of being alone would certainly have a difficult time letting it go.

The movie doesn't take itself too seriously, which makes it a lot of fun. It also doesn't lose sight of the heart of the story, making it memorable. Ralph and Vanellope's journey through the internet is filled with colorful characters who introduce them to both good and bad aspects of the online world. J.P. Spamley brings them through a questionable pop-up ad where they learn they can earn money through certain games, introducing Vanellope to the grungy racing game called Slaughter Race, which she enjoys a lot more than her whimsical candy world of Sugar Rush. Yesss, a character featured heavily in ads for the movie, is an algorithm who helps Ralph make money by creating lots of silly viral videos. In that way, the movie pokes fun at how people are entertained by some of the most ridiculous things on the internet, especially if they're bored at work. Ralph Breaks the Internet is chock-full of one-liners and memes, many of which didn't even make into the final cut. The fact that so many scenes got pulled, including some that were already show in the trailers, helped it stay just as focused as it needed to be to teach a simple lesson about friendship and letting go. I'd love to be able to watch a reel of deleted scenes from this movie someday.

Overall, Ralph Breaks the Internet is a zany and fun adventure about friendship and social media memes. The internet gets a little overwhelming with all the franchises that Disney paid to include in the film as well as all of the Disney and Star Wars character cameos, but that adds to the fun and humor of the experience. The final scene with the princesses was just as epic as it was silly. The reason Wreck-It Ralph 2 truly succeeds as a film is that all of the zaniness and fun builds up to a valuable life lesson about the true meaning of friendship. If you're able to stay until the very end of the credits, there's one last surprise that I won't ruin for you.


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