After finding a friend and his place in the world, Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly: Stan and Ollie) thinks he has it all. His daily routine has two parts. When the arcade is open, he’s super villain Ralph who wrecks a building in an old-school 8-bit game. When the arcade closes, he meets his best friend, racer Vanellope (Sarah Silverman: I Love You America), for a few pints of root beer.
When Vanellope’s game breaks, Ralph fears she’ll be unplugged and he’ll lose his only friend. They hear the gamers discussing a spare part they’ve found on the internet. Spurred to action, Ralph uses his surge protector to access the internet and order the spare part.
The internet is a bizarre world for Ralph, but Vanellope finds she likes it. She finds a racing game that’s far less predictable than hers. Ralph wants to get the part and run; Vanellope considers staying in the World Wide Web to seek adventure.
Can Vanellope find happiness online? Then what will Ralph do?
Funny, sharp and surprisingly poignant, Ralph Breaks the Internet is a lovely film about the wonderful and terrible elements of friendships. Ralph is so concerned with maintaining his connection with Vanellope that he forgets her wants and needs, straining their friendship. The thematic focus is what makes a friendship work — plus how to maintain a bond when you’re apart.
Ralph also takes an incisive look at the internet and internet culture. Going viral and using the internet to make money get hilarious treatment. There are also excellent parodies of eBay auctions, Twitter and auto-fill options on search engines. Trend watcher Yesss (Taraji P. Henson: Empire) explains the rules of the internet to Ralph and warns him never to read the comments on his posts.
The film’s best parody, however is on Disney princess culture. Vanellope meets the princesses and asks about the lives these women lead. They chat about their stereotypes and contrive to work together to help Vanellope. It’s a fantastic, funny bit of storytelling.
The sweet spot is the relationship between Vanellope and Ralph. Wondering about her place in the world, Vanellope feels restless. Ralph, on the other hand, wants the status quo. Their bond is so strong and they’re so terrified of losing each other that neither wants to admit their feelings. As a result, their friendship begins to fracture.
If you’ve got young ones forging their first friendships or teens who never look up from their phones, take them to see Ralph Breaks the Internet. Spend some time on the web as a family learning about the important work that goes into friendships.
Good Animation • PG • 112 mins.
~~~ New this Week ~~~
Anna and the Apocalypse
When the dead rise, the small town of Little Haven falls under attack. With Christmas just around the corner, it’s up to Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends to bludgeon, stab and mow down the zombies – all with a song in their hearts.
A zombie musical makes an interesting addition to the holiday movie scene. This mash-up of many genres will be epic, either as a triumph or disaster. If you’re a fan of quirky musicals, bloody zombie flicks or comedies, this might be a refreshing holiday treat.
Prospects: Bright • R • 92 mins.
The Possession of Hannah Grace
A young girl dies in an exorcism gone wrong. When her cadaver reaches the morgue, Megan Reed (Shay Mitchell) stores it as one of many. Soon, however, she has reason to suspect there’s something wrong.
She has violent visions that make her sick. Strange things happen in the locked morgue. Is the body still possessed. Can Megan survive until morning? Or will she be a fresh addition to her morgue?
Jump scares and poorly lit hallways rife with things that go bump in the night make for a middling horror movie but nothing original or truly scary.
Prospects: Flickering • R • 85 mins.
Cludo Custom Site Search