Films

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Culture - By Da­mon Smith

RALPH BREAKS THE IN­TER­NET (PG) Four stars

When it comes to a se­quel, go big­ger or go home. Rich Moore and Phil John­ston’s imag­i­na­tive and deeply sat­is­fy­ing fol­low-up to the 2013 feel-good com­puter an­i­ma­tion WreckIt Ralph achieves the for­mer with­out stray­ing far from the lat­ter by pro­pel­ling its coin-op­er­ated ar­cade game char­ac­ters into the mind-bog­gling realms of the World Wide Web.

Ralph Breaks The In­ter­net ex­pands its be­wil­der­ing ar­ray of vis­ual tar­gets to in­clude so­cial me­dia be­he­moths, video shar­ing por­tals and on­line shop­ping brands plus those ir­ri­tat­ing ad­ver­tis­ing pop-ups which mul­ti­ply like a vir­u­lent fun­gus. The naivete of candy-coloured char­ac­ters in their new home is mined for a steady stream of laughs.

“We know where to go if we need a pair of gog­gles,” chirps Ralph (voiced by John C Reilly) as he mis­reads the name of one search en­gine and an in­au­gu­ral visit to an auc­tion web­site leads to Ralph and best friend Vanel­lope von Sch­weetz (Sarah Sil­ver­man) mer­rily bid­ding against one an­other.

A savvy, warm-hearted script cred­ited to co-di­rec­tor John­ston and Pamela Ri­bon is punc­tu­ated by cau­tion­ary notes about viruses, the dark web and trolls.

“First rule of the in­ter­net: Don’t read the com­ments!” ob­serves one guardian of the dig­i­tal realm. Film­mak­ers re­spon­si­ble for Ralph Breaks The In­ter­net can ig­nore th­ese sage words: com­ments for their briskly paced ad­ven­ture should be over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive.

Vanel­lope von Sch­weetz hur­riedly aban­dons her Sugar Rush game when

‘ A wealth of vis­ual gags de­mands a sec­ond view­ing

a young girl ac­ci­den­tally shears off the steer­ing wheel dur­ing a race.

A re­place­ment part is too costly for ar­cade owner Mr Lit­wak (Ed O’Neill) and he turns off the ma­chine.

“I haven’t seen this many home­less char­ac­ters since Space In­vaders went down!” laments se­cu­rity guard Surge Pro­tec­tor (Phil John­ston).

While the denizens of Sugar Rush are re­housed in other games, Ralph and Vanel­lope find a steer­ing wheel on an auc­tion web­site and have 24 hours to raise just over 27,000 US dol­lars to hon­our their out­landish bid. Ralph raises funds as an in­tent meme star on the Buzzztube chan­nel run by al­go­rithm Yesss, and Vanel­lope puts the pedal to the metal in a Grand Theft Auto-es­que game, which is the digi­tised do­min­ion of sassy petrol head Shank (Gal Gadot).

Ralph Breaks The In­ter­net warms the cock­les of our hearts then breaks them in tiny pieces with a sob-in­duc­ing fi­nale that clev­erly nods to the 1980s ar­cade clas­sic Don­key Kong. A wealth of vis­ual gags de­mands a sec­ond view­ing and a pro­tracted in­ter­lude in the Oh My Dis­ney! fan site, pop­u­lated by a bevy of an­i­mated princesses and char­ac­ters from the Mar­vel and Star Wars stables, is a self-ref­er­en­tial hoot.

We emerge from the cin­ema with sim­i­larly broad grins and tear-glis­tened cheeks.

Ralph Breaks The In­ter­net with Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly), Yesss (Taraji P. Henson) and Vanel­lope von Sch­weetz (Sarah Sil­ver­man)

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