RALPH BREAKS THE IN­TER­NET

RALPH BREAKS THE IN­TER­NET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2 Dis­ney’s love let­ter to ’80s gam­ing gets an on­line up­date…

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The ar­cade game wrecker re­turns. This time with way more Dis­ney princesses.

I As the team be­hind Zootropo­lis, Walt Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios is no stranger to build­ing worlds. But con­struct­ing the en­tire in­ter­net for Wreck-It Ralph 2 al­most proved too much. “It’s not some­thing that’s been vi­su­alised be­fore,” winces pro­ducer Clark Spencer. “It wasn’t un­til we went to One Wil­shire Boule­vard, the hub of North Amer­ica’s in­ter­net, that we started to think about it as a city with dif­fer­ent dis­tricts.”

Six years on, Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanel­lope (Sarah Sil­ver­man) are living their best lives in Mr. Lit­wak’s ar­cade, un­til the wheel on Vanel­lope’s game Sugar Rush breaks. Us­ing the wifi pipe to en­ter the on­line world, the pair make a bee­line for eBay. Find­ing the wheel in the vast auc­tion house, though not quite grasp­ing the con­cept (“All you have to do is yell out the big­gest num­ber!”), Ralph bids $27,001 – money he doesn’t have. They’re given an ul­ti­ma­tum: find the money within 24 hours or for­feit the wheel.

With no hope, the pair turn to Yesss (Taraji P. Hen­son), an al­go­rithm on the cut­ting edge who helps Ralph cre­ate vi­ral videos and earn Buzzy Bucks. But

on­line fame is a double-edged sword. “Yesss has some im­por­tant scenes where she talks about dif­fi­cult things like com­ments,” Spencer says. “We need to show those darker sides. We also go down into the dark net. It’s an area where viruses ex­ist, and Ralph is go­ing to make some bad de­ci­sions.”

To help them mar­ket their videos, Yesss sends Vanel­lope to Oh My Dis­ney – Comic-Con for Mouse House char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing C-3PO, Iron Man and ev­ery Dis­ney princess to date. But isn’t a Dis­ney film pro­mot­ing Oh My Dis­ney – a real site – a lit­tle bit… cyn­i­cal? Spencer clar­i­fies this is only a win­dow into a much big­ger world. “The princess scene is a defin­ing mo­ment in the trailer, but it’s just a mo­ment as op­posed to what the movie is about.”

Af­ter six years, what the movie is about has changed dras­ti­cally, with an early ver­sion told through Vanel­lope’s eyes. “It was about her get­ting caught up in ‘likes’,” Spencer re­veals. “It felt im­por­tant. But her char­ac­ter isn’t re­ally one to get caught up in likes, and we re­alised the au­di­ence is ahead of that.” Still in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing the in­ter­net, the team hit on a big city story that put the pair’s friend­ship back at its heart. “Vanel­lope’s eyes are opened, but Ralph wants to go back to the world he knows and loves, to­gether,” Spencer says. “We thought that would be fun.”

ETA | 30 NOVEM­BER / RALPH BREAKS THE IN­TER­NET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2 OPENS LATER THIS YEAR.

Re­turn­ing bud­dies Ralph and Vanel­lope, voiced by John C. Reilly and Sarah Sil­ver­man, go in­ter­net ex­plor­ing. WEB BRoWSERS

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