Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first sequel in years, Ralph Breaks the Internet, is a fun return to the world of Wreck It Ralph, even though it more or less dispatches with some of the fun supporting characters of the first film.
The Production: 4.5/5
Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) is getting bored with the mundane race tracks of Sugar Rush, even though her best friend, Ralph (John C. Reilly) is enjoying the status quo of Fix It Felix, knowing that when the arcade closes for the night, he can still hang out with Vanellope without having to be the bad guy. Attempting to change things up, Ralph builds a new track in Sugar Rush, much to Venellope’s delight but not to the player in the real world inside Litwak’s Arcade, who mistakenly breaks the steering wheel off the game. With the replacement part costing more than what Litwack makes off the game, Litwack decides to take Sugar Rush out of commission by unplugging it, forcing its characters out of the game and into the surge protector. Fearing the game to be shutdown forever, Ralph and Vanellope decide to go out to the internet, hoping to retrieve the replacement steering wheel from eBay, only to discover that they have no way of actually paying for it. In their quest to earn funds for the steering wheel, Vanellope discovers a new racing game, Slaughter Race, led by Shank (Gal Gadot). The two become good friends, with Shank becoming something of a role model for Vanellope, who must decide if she wants to return to Sugar Rush or stay in the world of Slaughter Race, and what could that mean to the rather insecure Ralph.
I really enjoyed Wreck It Ralph when it hit theaters back in 2012, with its many 1980s arcade game references and jokes. It was also a rather heartwarming story of a guy who was generally disliked for the villainous role he played in the game Fix It Felix rather than who he was or wanted to be when the game was not running, and eventually being accepted by the arcade game community. As Ralph Breaks the Internet opens, we see how his relationship with Vanellope has developed and as the film unfolds, how that relationship may become threatened by Ralph’s insecurities that could bring the entire internet crashing down. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman have a great rapport, lovingly insulting each other during their journey. Gal Gadot brings a maturity to the street-smart Shank, who imparts some much-needed wisdom to Vanellope in what could have been a very one-dimensional character (we find out in the special features that the character was changed and further developed with the casting of Gadot). There are some wonderful jokes about the internet (especially Vanellope’s run-in with the Disney Princesses) as expected, but for the true nerds and geeks out there, there are plenty of easter eggs of internet history to be found embedded in the production design (Dial-up Express, the original AOL logo, etc.). The movie gives us a fun subplot with Felix (Jack McBrayer) and Calhoun (Jane Lynch) adopting the racer girls and becoming parents, but that is really the only reference to the supporting characters from the first film other than a few cameos. There are a lot of interesting and well-performed new characters, including Taraji P. Henson as Yesss, the head of viral video site BuzzzTube; Alan Tudyk as search engine egghead KnowsMore; Alfred Molina as Double Dan, boss of the Dark Net and dealer of viruses; and Sean Giambrone as eBay messenger eBoy.
3D Rating: NA
It’s pretty safe to assume that Ralph Breaks the Internet was rendered as a 2K digital intermediate (as most animated films are) with Dolby Vision HDR at select theatres. Disney’s 2160p HEVC-encoded transfer includes HDR10 rather than Dolby Vision and retains the film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The first thing one will obviously notice when comparing the UHD Blu-ray to the 1080p SDR Blu-ray is that the UHD is significantly darker overall while the Blu-ray sometimes appeared a little washed out at times. While the disc has a negligible increase in detail, it has a much more pronounced handle on contrast and color depth. Shadings of the characters in particular are much more refined. Blacks are deep and inky, retaining much more shadow detail as well. Colors are much better saturated here, too, with Shank’s car often glittering with its metallic paint job and the painted red flames more pronounced. Taffyta’s car in Sugar Rush also appears much more translucent on the UHD than it does on the Blu-ray.
Disney has provided a Dolby Atmos track for the UHD version, while delegating the Blu-ray to a DTS-HD MA 7.1 track. As with most recent Disney releases, the track appears to have been mixed a few notches below reference and requires an extra boost of the volume knob. The track may seem a bit restrained at first, but once we enter the internet, all bets are off as we enter a very immersive environment. Sounds are placed with pinpoint accuracy as Net Users swoosh by to their ultimate destination; cars, X-Wings, TIE Fighters fly overhead; bees swarm around you; etc. LFE presence is tighter and more pronounced than the Blu-ray’s DTS-HD MA track, too. Dialogue is well prioritized overall.
Special Features: 3.5/5
All of the special features can be found on the included Blu-ray edition.
Surfing for Easter Eggs (1080p; 3:36): A way too brief look at some of the more hidden easter eggs to be found in the movie.
The Music of “Ralph Breaks the Internet” (1080p; 10:18): A look at the orchestral/electronic score by Henry Jackman and the songs featured in the film.
BuzzzTube Cats (1080p; 1:47): A compilation of all of the cat videos created for the movie.
How We Broke the Internet (1080p; 32:57): A rather detailed look at the evolution of the sequel.
Deleted Scenes (1080p): Five scenes, mostly in storyboard form, all introduced by co-directors Phil Johnston and Rich Moore – Into the Internet (4:54), Opposites (3:17), Domestic Hell (2:43), Bubble of One (5:56), and Recruiting Grandma (2:15).
Music Video – Zero Performed by Imagine Dragons (1080p; 3:51)
Music Video – In This Place Performed by Julia Michaels (1080p; 3:22)
Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy (in UHD where available) on Movies Anywhere. Redeeming your code on Movies Anywhere also unlocks an exclusive special feature: Baby Drivers – Slaughter Racing School.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is a worthy sequel to Wreck It Ralph, and Disney’s 4K UHD presentation is a nice improvement over the pretty stellar Blu-ray.
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