‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’: buying the characters, not the brands

Semler at the Cinema features Brandon Semler’s thoughts on the world of film, including reviews, think pieces, previews and more.

By Brandon Semler

“Ralph Breaks the Internet” (2018) continues the journey of its lovable duo, catapulting them into the physically embodied world of the internet (brand names included) that seemed a lot more clever in concept than on the screen. 

The film has no shortage of clever moments, but it the world of meta commentary and self-awareness that we find ourselves in, it felt less meaningful than it would have five years ago. 

From IMDB: six years after the events of “Wreck-It Ralph,” Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), now friends, discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure.

The relationship between Ralph and Vanellope save the film. After their initial connection in the first “Ralph” installment, the ebbs and flows of their now six-years-older relationship feels authentic in a film that seems to be attempting cleverness at every turn. The performances from Reilly and Silverman are highlights of both films. 

There’s no way to get around it: the blatant branding is cringe-inducing at times. The visual of labels like Amazon and Google majestically lettered on the tops of large buildings just feel like looking at billboards that I paid to see. The meta-Disney material is handled surprisingly well — though that cynic in the back of my head just keeps screaming “this is all an advertisement.” 

Ad or not, it’s an entertaining watch. 

Status: Recommend for Fans (Disney films, “Wreck-It Ralph” fans, etc.)

Brandon Semler can be reached at popdiversifies@gmail.com, or on Twitter @BrandonSemler.

Drawing by William C. Hensley

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