Ranking the Disney Animated Canon, Part 8

START WITH PART 1

PART 2 HERE

PART 3 HERE

PART 4 HERE

PART 5 HERE

PART 6 HERE

Part 7 Here

#25: Ralph Breaks the Internet

When Disney bought Pixar and placed the now-disgraced John Lasseter in charge of all its animation he put an end to direct-to-video sequels. I was initially all for this, but when I heard that the next two films in the canon would be sequels I started second-guessing that. That meant either sub-par to bad sequels would now be official entries in the canon released theatrically, or that because they are official entries in the canon released theatrically time and effort would be placed into them to make them decent films. Thus far it’s the latter, and I’m not the only one that thinks so. It’s doing well at the box office and has an 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I hope it wins Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. It’s worth noting that it is the second longest film in the canon, the fifth sequel in the canon, and the canon’s first sequel to a CGI film.

The story is solid. It does what a good sequel should do. It further develops the characters we know and love without feeling like too much of a rehash of the original. Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) has grown bored with her game after six years, finding it too predictable. Ralph (John C. Reilly) decides to build her a new track to help. While she is driving the new track, conflict between how Vanellope wants to drive and the player controlling her causes the arcade machine’s steering wheel to break off. The company that made the game went out of business years ago, and the only steering wheel on eBay costs more than the game makes in a year,[1] so Mr. Litwak (Ed O’Neill) decides to unplug the game and let its parts go to scrap. Ralph and Vanellope use the recently installed Wi-Fi to go on the internet and get the replacement part.

They win the eBay auction, but due to a lack of understanding about how the real world works, they don’t have the money to pay for it and have 24 hours to pay or lose the item forever. Initially they try to make money by stealing items from online games that are then sold by a pop-up ad. Their job takes them to an online game called Slaughter Race, where they must steal Shank’s (Gal Gadot) car. They fail, but Shank helps by turning Ralph into a viral video. She sends Ralph to her friend Yesss (Taraji P. Henson), who helps him make several more until eventually he gets enough likes on his videos to earn enough money to buy the part.

Meanwhile, Vanellope has fallen in love with the world of Slaughter Race. She wants to stay there rather than go back to the arcade. Ralph, not wanting to lose his best friend, uploads a virus to the game that exploits and multiplies insecurities. The server resets to repair the damage, and Ralph rescues Vanellope from the game so she won’t be deleted after reset. Vanellope finds out what Ralph did and ends their friendship. The virus also escapes and exploits Ralph’s insecurity and beings multiplying it across the internet. The viruses go after Vanellope, but Ralph realizes the error of his ways, and supports his friend. In doing so he manages to fix his insecurity, thereby destroying the viruses. Ralph returns to the arcade while Vanellope stays in Slaughter Race. Her game in the arcade is saved, and the two still keep in contact.

I must also mention how many meta references this movie has. It is full of them. The amount of actual websites they encounter is amazing. There are references to so much of internet culture in general. Then there is the Oh My Disney scene. It’s gold. The cameos by all of the Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars characters are so much fun, and the interaction between Vanellope and the Princesses is hilarious. The mid and post-credits scenes are fun too. There is one plot hole that bothers me though. Ralph was gone from his game for a whole day. Given the events of the previous movie there should have at least been a cutaway letting us know what was going on with his game during this time. Was the out of order sign placed on it again? Was it in danger of being unplugged and removed again? It’s like they forgot the entire first part of this series!

The characters are solid. This is a true buddy movie, focused almost exclusively on Ralph and Vanellope. Felix (Jack McBrayer) and Calhoun (Jane Lynch) don’t get much screen time, which is a little disappointing, but the development of Ralph and Vanellpe’s relationship is done so well that it’s easy to overlook that. Shank is certainly cool, and the various internet characters are fun, but it’s the main two that make this movie so good. For the past several movies, Disney had been doing a reveal the true villain at the end twist. This movie doesn’t have that. There isn’t a true antagonist. The conflict comes from external circumstances that put stress on Ralph and Vanellope’s friendship. That’s what makes this movie so good. It is so human, believable, and realistic. Two best friends are growing and changing. They want different things, and they have to learn how to deal with it. They have to grow up and learn how to be friends despite the distance. This hits close to home because I had something similar happen earlier this year (though unlike Ralph I never stood in the way of my friend’s dream). It’s easy for me to sympathize. I nearly cried during this movie.

The animation is the same top quality we’ve been getting for several movies now, so I have no complaints there. Music for this one is interesting. First off I must voice my displeasure that they decided to use the Demi Lovato cover of “Let It Go” for the Oh My Disney scene. I don’t like that version; give me Elsa! There actually is an original song, despite this movie not being a musical. “A Place Called Slaughter Race” is Vanellope’s amusing parody of Disney Princess songs (I told you this movie was full of meta references) and it was done by Alan Menken. When you take the story, characters, animation, and music all together you end up with a very good movie that, while not quite as good as the original, is a good sequel and worthy addition to the canon. Good job again, WDAS!

Here is the updated list:

  1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  2. The Lion King
  3. Frozen
  4. Aladdin
  5. The Jungle Book
  6. Robin Hood
  7. Fantasia
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. The Little Mermaid
  10. Mulan
  11. Big Hero 6
  12. Hercules
  13. Peter Pan
  14. Tarzan
  15. Moana
  16. Pinocchio
  17. One Hundred and One Dalmatians
  18. Lady and the Tramp
  19. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  20. Sleeping Beauty
  21. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  22. Cinderella
  23. Wreck-It Ralph
  24. Lilo & Stitch
  25. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  26. Zootopia
  27. The Rescuers Down Under
  28. The Great Mouse Detective
  29. The Fox and the Hound
  30. The Princess and the Frog
  31. Tangled
  32. Fantasia 2000
  33. The Rescuers
  34. Meet the Robinsons
  35. Bolt
  36. The Emperor’s New Groove
  37. The Sword in the Stone
  38. The Aristocats
  39. Winnie the Pooh
  40. Oliver & Company
  41. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
  42. Alice in Wonderland
  43. Dinosaur
  44. Brother Bear
  45. Pocahontas
  46. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
  47. Bambi
  48. Dumbo
  49. Saludos Amigos
  50. Melody Time
  51. Make Mine Music
  52. Fun and Fancy Free
  53. The Three Caballeros
  54. Treasure Planet
  55. The Black Cauldron
  56. Home on the Range
  57. Chicken Little

[1] I initially had a hard time with this part. The steering wheel started at $200.00. Even if we assume Litwak’s is closed on weekends (which wouldn’t make sense, because kids have Saturday off so it would be an ideal day to be open, but let’s assume) and major holidays that still comes down to less than a dollar a day. Fewer than four kids a day play this game? I forgot, however, to factor in the cost of electricity to power the game and other business expenses, so I suppose it is possible that total profit overall could indeed be less than $200.00 a year even if several kids play it every day. What I thought was a plot hole is actually quite plausible.

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Ranking the Disney Animated Canon, Part 8