Episode 261: The Possible Problem of Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

Hiya!

I love the first Wreck-It Ralph. To me, it was an amazing film that had a good story and a lot of heart to it. I just re-watched it recently and I still believe it holds up, even though it’s only been around 5 years since it was released but, hey! In this day of age where it seems like our attention spans keeps getting shorter and shorter and everyone jumps to the “next big thing” as quickly as possible, something that still manages to seem fresh even after 5 years is an accomplishment!

Of course, the biggest draw for the original Wreck-It Ralph was it’s connection to the video game world. It was amazing to see characters from different video games like Street Fighter, Pac-Man, Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog, among others, all in one film. Disney made full use of the premise of video game characters jumping to different worlds and they utilized the tropes incredibly well.

I guess it was only a matter of time for Disney to announce a sequel to Wreck-It Ralph. When they did, I started to imagine what they would do? Would they parody the more “mature” rated games like Grand Theft Auto and Hitman? Would they poke fun at the plethora of zombie-like games such as The Last of Us and Resident Evil? Or would they double down and still set the film in the world of retro gaming and arcades? It turns out all my guesses were wrong because, as the name suggests, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 is going to take place in the World Wide Web.

Now, the trailers for Ralph Breaks the Internet does make it seem like Wreck-It Ralph 2 retains a lot of the stuff that made the first film awesome. There are still those references to geeky stuff, but instead of those things being video games like Street Fighter and Pac-Man, they’re all about Internet stuff like Twitter, clickbait headlines and YouTube. The two main protagonists, Ralph and Vanelope, will still be jumping to different worlds once again but to different websites instead of different games.

The trailers makes it look like Ralph and Vanelope’s adventures into the weird and wacky world of the World Wide Web looks like it’s going to be a blast. When I first watched them, I was impressed and it looked like Disney was on the right track. But the instant that very thought popped into my head, I kind of reeled back and started second guessing myself. Yes, the new trailers looked like it will have the laughs and show us a ton of pop culture but it was missing something that I feel was an integral part of the first Wreck-It Ralph.

That thing is the video games. And the one with the kitty and the bunny doesn’t count.

To a lot of people, this may not be a point of concern. But for someone like me who loves the first Wreck-It Ralph and video games, the exclusion of the latter does have me a little bothered and uneasy. As I mentioned before, one of the things that made the first movie so good was the copious number of video game references. It was set in an old school arcade after all so not many of the games were particularly new, except for the bug shooter, Hero’s Duty, that Jane Lynch’s character was in. Even so, it was still incredibly fun to see a lot of video game history and the characters from those games all in one movie. It still blows my mind to this day to see all of those licensed character from companies like Nintendo, Capcom, Sega and many more in there. To me, Wreck-It Ralph was a great love letter to video games and our love for them.

Now, the trailers for Ralph Breaks the Internet makes it appear that they will definitely be less focused on video games. I did do a little digging into the sequel and the plot is  video game related. Vanelope’s game, Sugar Rush, has a busted steering wheel and, unless the owner manages to find a replacement, he will have no choice but to break down the machine and sell it for spare parts. This leads Ralph and Vanelope to go to the Internet in the hopes of getting a new steering wheel so that the Sugar Rush arcade machine can be fixed.

During my research, I also found out that there were plans to include Mario and Nintendo properties more prominently in the sequel and there are rumors that the current Mario voice actor Charles Martinet was supposedly cast in the film. However, I checked Charles Martinet’s IMDB page as well as the one for Ralph Breaks the Internet and he’s not listed to be in the film. At least, that’s as of this writing anyway. IMDB is a fickle thing but the fact is that it was originally planned that Mario would have a big role but it seems they’re not going in that direction anymore. This leads me to believe that the video game aspect that made the first Wreck-It Ralph so endearing is losing that part of itself and will go focus more on the Internet gimmick.

While I have no doubt that I will still like Ralph Breaks the Internet because of what I’ve seen so far, I do feel I won’t like it as much because of this switch of focus from video games to the Internet. Wreck-It Ralph works incredibly well because of how it fused video games and the tropes into the story. It was a tale of a “bad guy” who wants to become recognized for being so much more. It was also a story about an unwanted girl with a special talent that saves the day. Will Ralph Breaks the Internet’s story be linked with these characters personal struggles and be focused on their growth as characters. Or will it be primarily focused on those funny things we see on the Internet and demonstrate how powerful of a conglomerate Disney has become by showing off that they own so many popular franchises?

It may not sound like a big deal because Ralph Breaks the Internet is probably going to be good but I don’t like the voice in the back of my mind telling me that it may have lost it’s identity by taking the focus off video games and another pop culture string of ideas. It can definitely work but the video game fangirl in me isn’t going to be too pleased.

At least the Disney Princess fangirl will love around 5 minutes of Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.

Have any concerns about the second Wreck-It Ralph 2. Or a better questions would be what video game character would you like to see in Ralph Breaks the Internet? Let me know in the comments section below!

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