THE MEG (12)

FAR FROM WRECK­ING THINGS, THIS HEART-WARM­ING SE­QUEL IS A DEEPLY SAT­IS­FY­ING FOL­LOW-UP

Uxbridge Gazette - - Film Reviews -

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 Wreck-It 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 naiveté 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.

Film-mak­ers 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 girl ac­ci­den­tally sheers 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 ★★★★★

HOR­ROR thriller. Dr Zhang (Win­ston Chao) and his daugh­ter Suyin (Li Bing­bing) over­see the Mana One re­search fa­cil­ity off the Chi­nese coast. Dur­ing a dive in the Mar­i­ana Trench, a sub­mersible pi­loted by Lori (Jes­sica McNamee), Toshi (Masi Oka) and Wall (Ola­fur Darri Olaf­s­son) is at­tacked by a 75ft long mega­lodon shark. Dr Zhang and Mana One’s sta­tion chief Mac (Cliff Cur­tis) try to per­suade un­der­wa­ter res­cue ex­pert Jonas Tay­lor (Ja­son Statham) to help the stricken crew. “Man ver­sus meg isn’t a fight. It’s a slaugh­ter!” snarls Jonas, bait­ing the hook for out­landish scenes of car­nage.

■ Down­load/stream from De­cem­ber 3 and on DVD/Blu-ray from De­cem­ber 10.

Vanel­lope with the Dis­ney princesses

Li Bing­bing as Suyin and Ja­son Statham as Jonas Tay­lor

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