Movie Review: “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Disney repeats itself

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You’ve seen the best moment from “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” the sequel to Disney’s charming, “Wreck it Ralph,” an homage to vintage video games in a post-arcade world.

It’s the scene with all the anachronistic but ready-to-be-empowered Disney princesses and you probably caught it on, you know, the Internet. 

Nothing else in “Ralph Breaks the Internet” comes close to the giddy joy that seeing the Mouse mess around with the ways it princess-spoiled generations of American girls via “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” “The Little Mermaid,” etc.

That’s the knock on this covers-much-the-same-ground sequel, an hour and 50 dullish but watchable minutes surrounding its best gag. It’s a movie that deprives us of the curiosity that Sugar Rush racer-girl Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) describes when she realizes her game in the aged Litvak Arcade is busted and may be unfixable, “that not knowing what comes next feeling.”

It’s a film whose best jokes are sight gags, but sight gags visualizing what eBay, Snapchat and Youtube look like from inside the web, mocking Internet Economics and the sorts of web content that lands “likes” and “shares.” These are plainly aimed at adults.

Kids, especially ones tested by the nostalgia and video game visualizations of “Wreck it Ralph,” are going to find this a chore.

Vanellope’s Sugar Rush game controller breaks at a point “just when my life was perfect,” Ralph (John C. Reilly) complains, thinking only of himself. Vanellope? She’s still glitchy, but she was getting kind of bored. Winning every race will do that.

With Old Man Litvak about to unplug the machine for good, the arcade’s odd couple access wifi and hit the Web — Ralph, to find and over-bid (on eBay) for that busted wheel, Vanellope to find new adventures, maybe even a new home.

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Gal Gadot voices Shank, a hellion driving stolen cars in a “Grand Theft Auto” knock-off, Taraji P. Henson voices Yesss, who can help Vanellope and Ralph figure out how to make money on the Internet (spam and pop-up “Wanna get rich playing video games?” come-ons get their due) to buy what they need to go home.

“Are you the Al Gore?”

“I’m the ALgorhythm!”

There’s a fun cheap shot at Pixar’s “Brave,” a dark dive into the room where “comments” on your content (web videos) dwell and a third act that outstays its welcome.

Not every movie that comes out needs to be shorter, but animated films for kids do and “Ralph” definitely does. More princesses, less Internet, I say.

“It’s so big,” Vanellope complains of the visually dazzling World Wide Web. “It just goes on forever and ever.”

As does their kids’ movie about it. I mean, I got the jokes and laughed at them. But I’m not 9, and even I was thinking “Enough already.”

2half-star6

 

MPAA Rating: PG for some action and rude humor

Cast: The voices of John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson, Gal Gadot, Jane Lynch, Jack McBrayer, Mandy Moore

Credits:Directed by Phil Johnston, Rich Moore, script by Phil Johnson and Pamela Ribon. A Walt Disney release.

Running time: 1:52

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