We’ve Seen Lots of New Footage From Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2



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The directors shed light on the plot and characters.

The following preview describes footage that was screened for the press by Disney, but some of it may – for some readers – qualify as SPOILERS.

The sequel to Wreck-It Ralph is on its way, and this time everyone’s favorite video game bad guy – who isn’t really a “bad” guy – wrecks the internet. Or rather, Ralph Breaks the Internet. (Marketing can be weird.)

Disney Animation held a preview for Ralph Breaks the Internet at their historic studio in Burbank, CA, where co-directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston showed off new footage from the movie, and answered questions about what it all means.

At the end of Wreck-It Ralph, Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) has earned the respect of his peers and solved his own insecurities, but Ralph Breaks the Internet actually began by exposing how unsatisfying the original journey was.

“The idea came fairly early,” says Phil Johnston. “Fairly soon after we had worked on the first Ralph we were just talking about, would we ever want to do a sequel? And if so, why? Because the first movie wraps up pretty nicely with Ralph’s line, which is, ‘If that kid likes me, how bad can I be?” Which at the time, when we made it, felt like a very sweet sentiment.”

Check out these images from Ralph Breaks the Internet, including new concept art showing the visual development of the characters and world, by scrolling through the slideshow below:

“However, as we started poking around at that idea, it’s actually a little dysfunctional that Ralph is defining himself based on how another person feels about him,” John explains. “And so we were like, ‘Well, Ralph still has some work to do.’”

“And what,” Rich Moore asks, “is the worst place you can put a person who defines himself by how other people think of him?”

“The internet,” Johnson says.

And so begins Ralph’s journey to the online world. The movie begins with Ralph and his best friend Vanellope von Schweetz (voiced by Sarah Silverman) spending their days in their respective games, and their nights at the hub between games, a power strip in Mr. Litwak’s arcade, which now has a new portal attached to it called “Wi-Fi.”

The plot kicks off when a gamer accidentally breaks the steering wheel on Vanellope’s game, but with the manufacturer of the game out of business, and the part costing more than the “Sugar Rush” video makes in a year, it looks like she’ll soon be unplugged.

In an emotional early scene, Vanellope and Ralph are hanging out at Ralph’s pad, while he tries to cheer her up with plans to build an igloo out of pillows (called, obviously, a “pigloo”). But without her game, Vanellope is experiencing a genuine existential crisis. However familiar her game was, the races gave her purpose and filled her life with unexpected joys.

“That’s the stuff that feels like life to me,” Vanellope says. “If I’m not a racer, Ralph, what am I?” Ralph tries to be helpful by saying, “You’re my best friend,” but Vanellope replies “That’s not enough for me.” It’s a scene that explores the characters’ insecurities, which inspired Johnson and Moore to tell the story of Ralph Breaks the Internet.

Ralph Breaks the Internet Wi-Fi Portal

To save the day, Ralph suggests that the two of them venture forth into the internet, buy the steering wheel on eBay, and send it to Mr. Litwak (Ed O’Neil). It’s a straightforward plan – Vanellope is particularly impressed one of Ralph’s schemes makes sense for a change – and it takes them into the router: an empty, dark room that holds the true gateway to the online realm, which sends Ralph and Vanellope through the information superhighway in vessels that look just like the red and blue pills from The Matrix.

Compared to Mr. Litwak’s arcade, the internet is a very big place. The footage evokes the sense that Ralph’s world is a rural community and the internet is the “big city.” To find their way around, Ralph and Vanellope use a search engine: a Netizen in a graduation cap called Knowsmore (voiced by Alan Tudyk), who tries to use autofill to complete their sentences, and ultimately sends them on their way to eBay.

The population of the internet is comprised of two different types of characters: Netizens, who are the programs that make the internet run, and Net Users, who represent the human beings currently surfing the web, and stopping at various locales like IMDb and Amazon and, of course, eBay.

Ralph Breaks the Internet eBay

That’s where Ralph and Vanellope try to purchase the replacement steering wheel. The problem is, they think the competitive bidding in eBay is just a game, and that you win by just calling out bigger numbers than your opponent. The part is selling for a few hundred dollars, and to win it they call out bigger and bigger numbers, even after they’ve already won the auction, and accidentally boost the price to an astound $27,000.01 which, obviously they don’t have.

And so Ralph and Vanellope have to figure out how to make money on the internet, and that’s where they meet Yesss (voiced by Taraji P. Henson, and no, that’s not a typo, it’s really spelled with three S’s). She’s an algorithm designed to pick up on new trends within the internet, that’s why her fiber optic appearance shifts from scene to scene, as she adjusts her appearance to whatever is currently popular.

Yesss’s idea is to turn Ralph into an internet meme, which is pretty fitting, since directors Moore and Johnston explain that when they first challenged their animators to come up with with the internet really looks like, the only thing they got were a bunch of cat videos. Ralph becomes popular, but with popularity comes internet trolls and online bullying, which don’t so much break the internet as they do break Ralph’s heart, in a scene where he finally sees what people are saying about him.

The footage screened at Disney Animation seemed to have been chosen for a reason, to assure the audience that Ralph Breaks the Internet is a serious, character-driven animated movie, where the topical humor isn’t the only selling point. (An approach which did not make last year’s The Emoji Movie a critical success.)

Ralph Breaks the Internet Disney Princesses

But they didn’t shy away from it either, revealing in its entirety the famous “Disney Princess” scene, which the movie’s first trailer teased.

It would be rude to reveal the entire scene, which is sharp and funny and full of clever references to various films in the “Disney Princess” canon. But some of the scene’s biggest treats came from the daily frustrations of these classic characters, many of whom have been popular for decades in part because they represent idealized storytelling. So when Jasmine explains that having a pet tiger can be frustrating, because she’s allergic to cats, it’s humanizing and funny. The scene is full of details that fans of every Disney movie will no doubt appreciate (and hopefully it’s not the only time we see these beloved icons in the film).

Whether Ralph Breaks the Internet will fulfill the promise of this early footage remains to be seen, but there’s a lot of wit and thoughtfulness in these scenes, and that’s an encouraging sign.

Ralph Breaks the Internet opens Nov. 21 in the US, Nov. 30 in the UK, and Dec. 26 in Australia.



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