FILM UNFILTERED - ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ better than the original

FILM UNFILTERED - ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ better than the original

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Actor John C. Reilly is one of those people you have seen in a dozen movies, but broke out with “Stepbrothers.” His career has skyrocketed especially after playing burly video game bad guy Ralph in “Wreck it Ralph” six years ago.

The movie was a surprise hit, and last week the sequel “Ralph Breaks the Internet” opened in theaters. I dare say that this movie occupies the same level of awesomeness as “Lethal Weapon 2” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” It is very rare that a sequel is better than the original. Boredom with the mundane and doing the same thing over and over – as often happens in multiple sequels – is a major plot point in the movie.

The movie picks up a few years after the original and everything seems copacetic at the arcade. Ralph is content with being accepted by everyone and cherishes the relationship he has with Venellope (Sarah Silverman). But it turns out that she is actually rather bored and looking for new adventures. A mishap breaks the steering wheel off her game “Sugar Rush,” jeopardizing her future.

By chance, Mr. Litwak installs a wireless router in the arcade and this sudden portal to the internet offers up an adventure neither Ralph nor Venellope can pass up. They quickly find their way to eBay and begin bidding on the steering wheel they need, but Ralph goes completely overboard and screws up the whole process.

This leads them to a “Grand Theft Auto”-like racing game called “Slaughter Race” where they meet Shank, a rugged and daring female racer voiced by “Wonder Woman” actress Gal Gadot. Venellope is instantaneously and immediately smitten with Shank’s level of ingenuity and craziness of the racing game. Ralph becomes an internet sensation making goofy videos. The amount of logos and businesses that litter the landscape through the film both lampoons and recognizes their relevance in our daily lives.

There are two wickedly funny moments, one being Venellope encountering and then making over all of the Disney princesses. It is both tongue-in-cheek and self-aggrandizing; but it is handled in a respectable fashion and helps re-imagine these young ladies and bringing them into current societal norms.

The other side-splittingly hilarious part is a musical number that also involves Venellope as she sings an ode to her love of “Slaughter Race.” Not since South park’s feature-length movie and their song “Blame Canada” has there been such an outrageous but ridiculous song with huge production values in an animated feature. I hope that the producers of this film lobby the Oscar Academy and submit this in the best song category.

But the movie also addresses the negativity of the Internet as Ralph experiences firsthand. It also looks at how hard it is to let go of someone you care about and allow them the opportunity to grow and do their own thing. While not the emotional gut punch that “Inside Out” was, you will have the feels by the end of this one. Plus, it capitalizes on 80s nostalgia with references to two classic games, “Burgertime” and “Tapper.”

This is a great, funny and smart movie that adults will completely understand and will cause kiddos to giggle.