Sunday, November 25, 2018

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Fun thing watching the credits of this one: Apparently, Columbia Pictures owns Q*Bert. Not one of Sony's gaming divisions, but the movie studio, which made me wonder if whoever owned the Gottlieb titles a few years back chose to take a lump sum to sell the game rather than get royalties from Pixels. Apparently not; they've just owned the character since the 1980s. Go figure.

There's other reasons to stick around through the credits, including one of the most amusing trolls of the audience I can remember. I think a couple of my nieces are seeing it today, and if they do stick around to the end, well, they will be briefly very excited and then demanding an explanation from my brother.

Ralph Breaks the Internet

* * * (out of four)
Seen 24 November 2018 in AMC Boston Common #9 (first-run, RealD 3D DCP)

Ralph Breaks the Internet may not be quite as delightful as Wreck-It Ralph, but that's probably because its clever bits are more likely to poke fun at the present rather than dip into nostalgia, with the Disney jokes maybe a little more self-serving than self-deprecating. That was easy goodwill for the first movie, and the second has to try a little harder. Fortunately, it manages what it needs to just as well, getting a lot of laughs even as it makes a bit of an unexpected turn.

It's been six years since the events of the first movies, but not much has changed for the video game characters at Litwak's Arcade since then, which suits Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) fine, though best friend Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) is looking for a bit more than racing on the same three courses every day. When Ralph's attempt to help results in real-world damage that might get Vanellope's game sold for scrap, they figure the only thing to do is head to the Internet via a newly-attached WiFi router to get the part on eBay - but paying for it means either swiping a car from Slaughter Race boss Shank (voice of Gal Gadot) or convincing streaming-site algorithm Yesss (voice of Taraji P. Henson) to make them viral.

Conflict is what drives a story, or at least that's what they teach you in school, and some of Disney's most memorable characters are its villains, so it's pretty impressive that they keep the movie going for a long time based on people working toward the same goal and genuinely liking each other. Pretty much every crazy situation Ralph and Vanellope get into is the result of good intentions not being backed up by experience, and even the characters who could potentially be bad guys with betrayal in mind tend to wind up doing what they say they will. It's easy to make friendship seem boring or undramatic, but that's something this movie happily avoids.

Full review at EFC.

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