Ralph Breaks the Internet :Disney’s Fun Filled Cautionary Tale for Kids

 

The much anticipated 3D computer-animated film sequel to Disney’s 2012 film Wreck-It Ralph is finally here. Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston and featuring plenty of well-known actors like John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson and Gal Gadot the movie is slated to hit theaters Nov 21.

 

 

It is appropriate for all ages with no foul language or violence. The only scary scene is when the giant Ralph virus destroys some buildings.

WORLDWIDE WOW! – Ralph and Vanellope’s friendship is challenged when they journey into the internet in search of a replacement part for her game. This vast new world is both incredibly exciting and overwhelming—depending on who you ask.  ©2018 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

I admit I was very curious to see this particular movie. In most Disney movies, the message revolves around friendship, family or both. But the trailers to this one were a bit enigmatic. In fact, it left me with more questions than answers as to the reason Ralph breaks the internet and how are the Disney princesses included in the storyline.

Well, I finally got my answers after watching a pre-screening of the movie earlier this month. And I was pleasantly surprised. The plot manages to showcase essential topics such as internet safety, bullying and as well as the challenges of friendship and female empowerment in a non-threatening way. The dialogue is funny and the visuals spectacular. Wrapped in plenty of Disneyesque magic  Ralph breaks the internet is a fun-filled cautionary tale appropriate for all ages.

 

Ralph Breaks the Internet :Disney's Fun Filled Cautionary Tale for Kids raplh

CLICKBAIT – J.P. Spamley is an oft-ignored click baiter, a netizen who tries to get people in the real world to visit his website. A relentless salesman who pops up uninvited, Spamley helps Ralph and Vanellope as they navigate this new world of the internet in an effort to save Vanellope’s game.  ©2018 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The plot in a nutshell

This movie picks up approximately six years after the first one ends. It starts when the steering wheel controller on the Sugar Rush game console breaks.
So, in a gutsy move, Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz decide to go looking for a new one on the internet.

ralph review pin

Once there, it doesn’t take them long to realize they need money to buy the item on eBay. So, in the hope of making a quick buck, they join a violent racing game called Slaughter Race.

Things get complicated when Shank, the game’s top driver becomes Vanellope’s idol. Driven by the fear that his BFF will forget him, Ralph aided by unscrupulous hackers unleashes the ‘insecurity’ virus to destroy the game which in turn triggers a chain of unexpected events.

Conversation Starters for Parents

Qualities of a Good Friend

Unlike other Disney movies that focus on a single message like Coco or Christopher Robin, this one is more of a modern allegory with multiple messages.

The main one is friendship.
Ralph realizes Vanellope has outgrown her game and wants to move on but is reluctant to see his only friend leave. He is fearful she’ll forget him once she makes new friends. As a result, he becomes a ‘bad’’ friend even though he means well.

Only after he unleashes the virus and sees the damage done, does  Ralph understand how insecurity can ruin a relationship, and only true friends show empathy and support.

Ralph Breaks the Internet :Disney's Fun Filled Cautionary Tale for Kids online

YESSS – In “Ralph Breaks the Internet”  bad guy Ralph and his fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz venture into the expansive and thrilling world of the internet where an algorithm named Yesss—who constantly scours the net to find the hottest new content to post at her website, BuzzzTube.com—helps them navigate the uncharted territory.©2018 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Online Addiction and loss of Privacy

The movie creators make a subtle yet powerful statement when it comes to internet use. Since it has become a household commodity; it has changed the way we communicate with one another. And not always for the better.

Just like Vanellope observes the sun never sets or rises on Facebook, Snapchat and other virtual playgrounds. They are always ON, and so are we. Moreover, like Ralph, many of us are willing to let go of shame and privacy for the chance of going viral or collecting caveated likes.

Ralph Breaks the Internet :Disney's Fun Filled Cautionary Tale for Kids car

BUSTED – In “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Ralph and Vanellope find themselves in need of making some serious cash in order to purchase a replacement part for her game, Sugar Rush. Following a tip from a local Netizen, the two venture into the gritty online racing game Slaughter Race to swipe the prized car of Shank, the game’s tough-as-nails boss – but she’s not about to let them get away that easily.  ©2018 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Online Bullying

But there’s more.
Ralph and Vanellope find the internet charming and enticing until they get their feelings hurt. In a heartwarming moment, Yesss the internet trendsetter and Buzztube guru advises Ralph to ‘ never look in the comment section’ after the latter gets upset at some nasty viewers comments.

 

GAME OVER – In “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Litwak is forced to unplug Vanellope’s game when it is accidentally broken, leaving the Sugar Rush racers with nowhere to go. Calhoun and Felix team up with several members of the arcade’s gaming population to figure out what to do next.. ©2018 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Sadly, many internet users feel empowered to insult, bully even stalk others online hiding under cover of anonymity. So, as online harassment becomes more and more common it is up to the parents to teach their kids how to react should they come across the phenomenon.

 

Ralph Breaks the Internet :Disney's Fun Filled Cautionary Tale for Kids gal's posse

THE RACE IS ON – When video-game bad guy Ralph and Vanellope head to the internet in search of a replacement part for her game, Sugar Rush, they find themselves in the middle of Slaughter Race, an online racing game set in an apocalyptic world that’s populated by first-person players and gaming characters. As a racer herself, Vanellope is immediately drawn to this fierce and fun crew of racers who, unlike in other racing games, are much more multidimensional than at first glance. ©2018 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Dangers of the dark web

Though depicted in a mild comic book like fashion, the movie still manages to paint a scary picture of the dark web. Land of stolen identities forged credit cards and scammed customers the dark web is a place to avoid!

Of course, this might go over the younger kids’ heads. Nonetheless, it provides parents who want to explain the dangers lurking behind the computer screen with the perfect introduction.

 

Ralph Breaks the Internet :Disney's Fun Filled Cautionary Tale for Kids gal gadot

BEHIND THE WHEEL — “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” introduces Shank (Gal Gadot)  a tough and talented driver in an intense online racing game called Slaughter Race. When Vanellope finds herself in a street race with Shank, her Sugar Rush driving skills are put to the test—and Shank is impressed. ©2018 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Female empowerment

Female empowerment is a trendy topic, and Disney is at the forefront showcasing strong leading female characters every opportunity it gets. So, it is no surprise, that The theme of female empowerment is a recurrent theme in their latest one.
In the film, Vanellope is no longer the insecure little girl of six years ago but a bold racer ready to transition to the big league of racing game.

Her idol, Shank, a daredevil racer is street smart, decisive and always in control. Not only doesn’t she flinch in the face of danger but she seems to thrive on her chaotic lifestyle.

But it is the Disney princesses who steal the show!
On her quest to make Ralph’s meme viral Vanellope lands in the fan-based Disney portal ‘OhMyDisney’ and gets to rub elbows with all the celebrity princesses.

At first, they doubt she is a real Disney princess since she has never been kidnapped or rescued by a prince. But as the scene progresses they learn to  ‘loosen up’ trading their royal gowns and restrictive corsets for comfortable loungewear.

Ralph Breaks the Internet :Disney's Fun Filled Cautionary Tale for Kids princess

SELFIE! In Ralph Breaks the Internet,î Vanellope von Schweetz hits the internet where she encounters and then befriends the Disney princesses. Filmmakers invited the original voice talent to return to the studio to help bring their characters to life. ©2018 Disney. All Rights Reserved.


The fun

Clever use of Disney intellectual property

My mom taught me that great people have the gift of laughing at themselves without looking ridiculous and that applies to companies too. I thought that Disney’s move to modernize its somewhat archaic princess definition and adapt it to present times was a stroke of genius.

In an unprecedented move, the company assembles their iconic princesses in one hilarious pajama party filled with witty one-liners. They even tease their Scottish counterpart about her accent.
Moreover, the royal gals get to wear some ‘ eye-catching t-shirts. Belle’s reads “BFF: Beast Friends Forever”, Cinderella’s, Elsa’s “Just Let It Go” and Snow White’s has a picture of poison apple.

Similar to Wreck- it- Ralph this movie too includes a plethora of cameos and references to Disney, Pixar, the Muppets, Lucas Film and Marvel movies. Aside from characters like Grumpy, Dumbo, Buzz and the Stormtroopers you can expect a moving homage to Marvel legend Stan Lee.

Ralph Breaks the Internet :Disney's Fun Filled Cautionary Tale for Kids pajamas

ROYAL REUNION – In “Ralph Breaks the Internet”  When Vanellope von Schweetz finds herself surrounded by Disney princesses, she’s surprised to learn that she actually has a lot in common with them.  ©2018 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Popular culture references

Leave it to the masterminds at Disney to go to extremes to make this movie as relevant as possible. The creators cast real-life Internet influencers Colleen Ballinger Dani Fernandez, Tiffany Herrera to add authenticity to the storyline.

They also used the infectious Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up” that went viral a few years back for one of the trailers and end credits. And speaking of end credits- make sure you see them because they are hilarious!

Ralph Breaks the Internet :Disney's Fun Filled Cautionary Tale for Kids the internet

INTO THE INTERNET – In “Ralph Breaks the Internet” Vanellope von Schweetz and Wreck-It Ralph leave the arcade world behind to explore the uncharted and thrilling world of the internet. In this image, Vanellope and Ralph have a breathtaking view of the world wide web, a seemingly never-ending metropolis filled with websites, apps and social media networks.  ©2018 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

The Internet

Since the Internet is virtual it was up to the writers to ‘create’ it for the movie. And it is marvelous. Vividly colored and ever-expanding viewers get to see real companies like Amazon, Snapchat and Pinterest. But of course, there are also plenty of fake ones too like Buzztube.

The internet scenes are filled with funny jokes and hints that will appeal to older kids and adults. The bustling metropolis is filled with skyscrapers next to their  ‘clouds’. Twitter is a tree filled with tweeting birds ( all blue, of course!) And Google is eerily similar to the Empire State Building towering over everyone while attacked by the insecurity virus shaped as what else but a King Kong look alike.

Ralph Breaks the Internet :Disney's Fun Filled Cautionary Tale for Kids yess

NUMBERS GAME – In Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” Ralph and Vanellope find themselves in need of making some serious cash in order to purchase a replacement steering wheel for her game, Sugar Rush. Fortunately, a Netizen named Yesss—the head algorithm of a trend-making website called BuzzzTube—has a plan. Yesss, who has her finger on the internet’s fast-paced pulse, helps make Ralph the next viral video sensation. . ©2018 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Overall

Overall, the movie is a joy to watch.
Walt Disney Animation managed to create a fun and funny family friendly movie that is also a useful teaching tool. It is appropriate for kids all ages with no foul language or violence. The only scary scene is when the giant Ralph virus destroys some buildings. Furthermore, at 112 min long the movie is on the short side which means that even  antsy kids will be able to watch and enjoy it.

Autism Tips

The movie isn’t loud per se but you should  bring a set of headphones for noise sensitive kids
Unlike other Disney sequels, you don’t  HAVE TO see the first installment. But it is a fun watch.
According to its creators, the movie focuses on feelings kids struggle with; like losing friends and bullying which will resonate with many kids on the spectrum.

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Ralph Breaks the Internet hits theaters Nov. 21, 2018.
MPAA Rating: PG.

Disclaimer: Special thanks to Disney Studios for hosting me on the press junket event. My opinions are  my own and cannot be influenced in any way

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