Ralph Breaks the Internet

The sequel to Disney's 2012 video-game adventure Wreck-It Ralph takes place a few years after the events of the original. Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) is completely happy with his daily routine: starring all day in his game at a throwback arcade and then hanging out all night with Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). But risk-taking Vanellope yearns for change, so Ralph goes into her game, Sugar Rush, to change the course... which leads to disaster when the game's external controls break. Without an easy way to replace the vintage game part, Sugar Rush gets unplugged, leaving Vanellope and all her game-mates homeless. Feeling responsible, Ralph and Vanellope hatch a plan to go online and find a replacement controller. But once they're online, Ralph and Vanellope quickly find themselves in over their heads and must scramble to find a way to pay for the replacement part and save Sugar Rush. They try a couple of get-rich-quick schemes -- from winning online-game prizes they can sell to creating viral videos. Will it be enough?

Disney's charming, insightful sequel shines a light on the wonders and horrors of the internet, from the camaraderie of sharing silly viral videos to the vicious nature of social media comments. Reilly and Silverman continue to sell the close friendship between a misunderstood video game villain and a glitch-prone young speedster. Their new adventure thrusts the BFFs into the wilds of the web; adults, even more than kids, will enjoy the movie's jokes and references to sites and internet phenomena that are all too relatable. In one key subplot, Vanellope and Ralph enter Slaughter Race, a gritty, dangerous online multiplayer racing game in which they encounter the game's star racer, Shank (Gal Gadot), whose car Vanellope hopes to steal and sell. Instead, she feels utterly, unexpectedly at home with Shank and her crew. Gadot is fabulously cast as the fierce, wise crew boss.

Another major, meta cameo has Vanellope infiltrating Disney's own social site in pursuit of more likes for Ralph's viral videos. She ends up meeting all of the Disney princesses (including the oft-overlooked Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, and Jasmine!), voiced mostly by their original actors. Since Vanellope is also a princess, the ladies have a hilarious conversation about what it means to be a princess (magical abilities, dead parent(s), important water, curses, and big, strong men). The sequence is surprisingly funny and layered, and the princesses all end up changing into loungewear to follow Vanellope's comfortable hoodie chic. As in the first movie, the theme of identity is important to Ralph Breaks the Internet, as is the meaning and nature of friendship and what it means to follow your dreams -- and support those you love as they follow their own passions. Although the thought of any sequel usually seems unnecessary, here the filmmakers work magic with a script full of heart.

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