Well, here it is. The first trailer for Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 just dropped, but contrary to its title the trailer has yet to break the internet. For shame, Ralph. For shame! Aren’t you the man known for wrecking things? You’ve got one job, Ralph.
And now I realize this little bit I’m doing makes it seem as if I’m actively advocating for Ralph to break the actual internet. I don’t want that. Why on Earth would I want that?
Let’s start over.
Wreck-It Ralph is a delightful film that seems to have gone somewhat forgotten since its 2013 release due to the superior financial and critical successes of the Disney Animation Studios titles which have come after it:
Frozen has spawned a TV special, Broadway musical, soon-to-be-released sequel, and created an entire generation of children who will forever be able to recite the lyrics of “Let It Go.” Big Hero 6, as with Tangled before it, is now a DisneyXD Original Series. Zootopia took home the Golden Globe, Annie Award, and Academy Award for Best Animated Film. Moana gave the world its first Polynesian Disney princess and featured original songs by Lin Manuel-Miranda, thus ensuring it an enduring appeal and special place in the hearts of millions.
Wreck-It Ralph, by comparison, spawned a video game or two, won an Annie Award, and Princess Vanellope has been a steady presence at various theme parks ever since. That’s about it, though. Thus, it might seem surprising Ralph Breaks the Internet is now set to become Disney Animation Studios’ first theatrically released sequel since the legendary animation label was relaunched in 2006. It’s going to end up beating Frozen 2 to the punch by a full year.
But, in a way, the first Wreck-It Ralph might have arrived just a tad too early, delivering a heaping dose of 80s nostalgia via its video arcade plot and setting and a very non-traditional Disney princess just before those were things people were asking for/demanding en masse. Moreover, it came right before the meteoric rise of online gaming. This sequel is thus perfectly poised to update the story for a new generation of gamers, which is the basic point made by the new teaser trailer:
We don’t know what the overall plot is. We don’t even know, from the trailer at least, if Ralph and Vanellope are the only returning characters from the first movie. We just know Ralph’s going to cross over into some mobile games and accidentally wreck them since that’s just what he does. That particular gag vaguely reminds me of John Ritter jumping from TV show to TV show in Stay Tuned. I can’t wait to see what Ralph does to Pokemon Go. More accurately, I can’t wait to see which games they ended up getting the rights to since the first film’s surprising collection of various non-Disney-owned video game characters was part of the appeal.
Obviously, at some point down the line, we’ll need to get a better sense of the story and whether Ralph and Vanellope truly have anything left to say as characters or if we’re simply bringing them back because Disney wanted to make an animated movie about modern video games. For now, it’s enjoyable to hear John C. Reilly and Sarah Silverman again voicing their lovable characters. They have much of the same creative team behind them. Original director Rich Moore is now joined by Phil Johnston as co-director and the original film’s co-screenwriter Jennifer Lee has been replaced by former TV show recapper and Moana story writer Pamela Ribon.
They don’t have to break the internet; that’s Beyonce’s job. They just have to make a fun movie. After this first teaser, I’m not completely sold they totally pulled that off (other than the final gag, the jokes fall a little flat for me), but I still look forward to seeing Wreck-It Ralph 2 later this year.
Ralph Breaks the Internet around the world on November 21.