Ralph Breaks the Internet Parent Guide
Good messages about navigating friendships wrapped up in a massive bundle of corporate product placements.
Parent Movie Review
Six years after the conclusion of Wreck-It-Ralph, arcade game characters Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) have established a routine: they work in their games all day and hang out and grab a root beer at “Tapper” (a classic arcade game). While this suits Ralph just fine, Vanellope finds herself wishing for a life with more a few more unexpected turns in the road. Even her racing game has become too predictable! But when Ralph tries to help her by modifying the track, a frustrated player breaks the arcade cabinet for Vanellope’s game, and the arcade owner can’t afford to replace the part. The only place the part is available is on the internet, and it looks like Ralph and Vanellope will be able to sneak in to the worldwide web…but how will they find it once they’re there? And will they be able to pay for it?
Now, despite some notable issues which I will address later, this cash-grab of a sequel actually manages to churn out some positive messages. The theme of the film is focused around the changing nature of the protagonists’ friendships as they move into a larger world. By contrasting the consequences of codependence and jealousy with what is a (surprisingly) sweet relationship, the film manages to provide a good life lesson for kids: friendship does not mean constant contact, and people can have more than one friend without diminishing their affection for the others.
The movie’s main problem is excessive and blatant product and corporate logo placement, which is made more disturbing by the youthfulness of this production’s target audience. By my count, there are no fewer than 24 instances of major product placement, from companies like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, eBay, and Google, along with massive plugs for every Disney franchise. In fact, there are hardly any scenes in the movie where you can’t see the logo of one of these mega corporations. This kind of saturation marketing is more than a little irritating. Apart from the fact that shamelessly self-promoting your other highly successful film products is more than a little tacky, doing so in a kids’ movie is irresponsible. By inuring children to the prevalent advertisements we see, we allow marketing to become the kind of background noise that people absorb without analyzing. Children growing up in the digital age are especially vulnerable to this kind of near-subliminal marketing. Advertisers are aware of this: they don’t need to give you a strong positive association with their product, they just want you to think of them first when you think of their product class.
Cynical and all-consuming advertising aside, “Ralph Breaks the Internet” has a nice message about the values of friendship and the importance of maintaining healthy relationships. John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman both do a good job of pouring character into their digital models, and the writers manage to avoid being too gratingly annoying. There’s not a lot in it for parents, but children between about 8 and 15 will probably have a decent time. Whether or not the saturation marketing is a deal breaker for you, however, will determine whether or not Ralph breaks your patience as well as the Internet.Directed by Phil Johnston, Rich Moore. Starring Alan Tudyk, John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman. Running time: 112 minutes. Theatrical release November 21, 2018. Updated November 20, 2018
Watch the trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Rating & Content Info
Why is Ralph Breaks the Internet rated PG? Ralph Breaks the Internet is rated PG by the MPAA for some action and rude humor
Violence: Infrequent mild slapstick violence. One instance of two internet avatars being burned with a flamethrower. A giant monster resembling protagonist rampages through a city and causes massive damage. This scene may be too intense for small children.
Sexual Content: None.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.
Page last updated November 20, 2018
Ralph Breaks the Internet Parents' Guide
Ralph and Vanellope have a few arguments in the film: Can good friends argue and still be friends? How do they resolve those arguments? Is it okay for friends to have different interests and goals? How can we respond to our friendships as they change?
Read books about Ralph Breaks the Internet
An eleventh birthday crossed with Groundhog Day. 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass gives readers a fun context for issues of growing up and seeing friendships evolve.
In Farfallina & Marcel, Holly Keller tells the sweet story of a caterpillar and gosling who are best friends. Despite the changes that come as they grow and transform (literally), their friendship endures.
Does having a new friend mean that old friendships are over? That’s the question Frances has to answer in Russell Hoban’s story for young children, Best Friends for Frances.
Can friendships last when interests diverge? In The Story of Fish and Snail, Deborah Freedman tells the story of two friends with very different interests: one is adventurous and the other likes to stay safely at home. A great read for preschoolers.
News About "Ralph Breaks the Internet"
From the Studio:
"Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2" leaves Litwak's video arcade behind, venturing into the uncharted, expansive and thrilling world of the internet-which may or may not survive Ralph's wrecking. Video game bad guy Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly) and fellow misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman) must risk it all by traveling to the world wide web in search of a replacement part to save Vanellope's video game, Sugar Rush. In way over their heads, Ralph and Vanellope rely on the citizens of the internet-the netizens-to help navigate their way, including a webite entrepreneur named Yesss (voice of Taraji P. Henson), who is the head algorithm and the heart and soul of trend-making site "BuzzzTube." Directed by Rich Moore ("Zootopia," "Wreck-It Ralph") and Phil Johnston (co-writer "Wreck-It Ralph," "Cedar Rapids," co-writer "Zootopia,"), and produced by Clark Spencer ("Zootopia," "Wreck-It Ralph," "Bolt"), "Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-Ralph 2" hits theaters on Nov. 21, 2018.
Related home video titles:
For older kids who may not be as amused by Disney Princesses interacting with characters from arcade games, 2008’s Tron: Legacy is a much darker approach to humans interacting with a digital world.
Disney’s Tomorrowland sends a teenager and a disillusioned inventor into an alternate dimension with a highly futuristic vibe.