Frankly, the first Wreck-It Ralph back in 2012 was good enough that it didn’t really need a sequel. And yet, here we are — Disney just wouldn’t let it go (no pun intended) since the first movie made a truckload of money at the worldwide box office and even earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. This particularly worries me at the beginning. I mean, how do you exactly top the original movie that’s already perfect the first time around?
That being said, it was no doubt an uphill task. But returning director Rich Moore and screenwriter Phil Johnston — who also served as a co-director this time around — successfully crafted a worthy sequel, which thankfully doesn’t end up as a cash grab after all. Sure, the novelty that made the first movie such a remarkably entertaining animated feature is no longer here. But I’m glad they understand that making a great sequel doesn’t have to be new and original as long as the story is well-told and engaging enough to capture your attention. And this is exactly where Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 manages to accomplish handsomely.
In this sequel, we see that Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is enjoying his work routine as usual, while spending the night hanging out with his best pal Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). But Vanellope herself begins to grow bored and tired with her same old Sugar Rush racing game, longing for a new challenge.
When the steering wheel on her arcade game machine ends up broken, they find out that the replacement part would cost US$200 on eBay — a price that proved to be hefty for Mr Stan Litwak (Ed O’Neill), the arcade owner of Litwak’s Family Fun Center & Arcade. This leaves him no choice but to ship the broken game machine out of his store in a week’s time.
In order to save the machine, Ralph and Vanellope risked themselves by travelling through the arcade’s new wired connection otherwise known as WiFi — an adventure that soon to be more than just a quest of obtaining the replacement part on eBay.
The story about breaking into the internet world filled with familiar brand names (read: product placements) like eBay, Google and Twitter does echo the similarity to the — abomination of that last year’s animation in The Emoji Movie. But before you label this as a rip-off, rest assured that Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 doesn’t suffer the same fate of the aforementioned ill-fated movie.
Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon’s screenplay is both witty and hilarious enough including an unforgettable meta-moment where Vanellope finds herself inside a dressing room filled with Disney princesses. The sequel also introduced some memorable new characters, particularly Gal Gadot’s voice performance as Shank, the feisty driver of the Grand Theft Auto-like urban racing game known as Slaughter Race.
It isn’t just about poking fun and pouring out in-jokes on the online world and its pop culture. Beneath all the candy-coloured fun and vibrant animation, the sequel also valued the importance of friendship between Ralph and Vanellope — a familiar but powerful theme that is particularly the heart and soul of what makes Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 a worthy sequel in the first place.