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Ralph Rejects the Typical Disney Cliches

Illustration by Tanya Bearson

I walked into the theatre not expecting much from Ralph Breaks the Internet, sequel to the movie Wreck-It Ralph, but was pleased to find I actually enjoyed it a good deal. Not focusing too much on the past, Ralph Breaks the Internet is a movie that anyone without prior knowledge about the cinematic universe it is set in can enjoy.

The movie tells a story centered around the lives of Vanellope von Schweetz, voiced by Sarah Silverman, a racer from the game Sugar Rush, and Ralph, voiced by John Reilly, of the game Wreck-It Ralph. The two are best friends who haven’t really been apart from each other in six years; the movie focuses on their venture within “the WiFi” to find a part that is needed to save Vanellope’s game. Throughout the movie, we see daring Vanellope face an internal struggle about how she wants to live her life. Does she want to live looking for that “not knowing what’s going to happen next feeling,” or live a satisfactory, and yet boringly predictable, life? It’s a choice she has to make on her own, but clingy friend Ralph doesn’t seem to realize this. For a while, Ralph let his insecurities get in the way of his friend’s dream, but eventually he came to the understanding that “it’s not right to hold a friend back from [their] dreams.” I found this to be a powerful theme relevant in the lives of everyone. After all, we all care about someone. Sometimes we have to make decisions that change our relationships with those we care about, but, in the end, “all friendships change.” It’s really just about how you handle that change.  

An additional aspect of the movie I liked were the numerous strong female characters. Not only was there brave Vanellope, but also some of Disney’s most beloved princesses. At first, I was despondent to hear them say the defining characteristic they shared as princesses was the fact that “people assume that all [their] problems got solved because a big, strong man showed up.” However, I was absolutely overjoyed and laughing at the irony presented when all the princesses came to save Ralph from a dreadful fate. The line, “Look! A big strong man that needs saving!” before they gracefully executed a successful rescue of Ralph in less than 30 seconds really got me. What can I say? It was pretty awesome. Another female role-model presented in this movie was Shank, voiced by Gal Gadot; a radical driver, loyal friend, and all around impressive woman from the dangerous game Slaughter-Race.

Seeing such a multitude of strong female leads was inspiring and very relevant to what is going on in this country and around the world concerning women’s rights and equality. The movie was progressive in how it supported and further promoted the idea that women are no less influential, wise, or capable than men something that’s a perfect break from the old and tired Disney princess trope.

Ralph Breaks the Internet was funny, albeit childish and immature. However, it was well balanced in the powerful and current themes it presented. Filled with hopes and dreams, questions about life, and cool characters, this movie was quirky and sweet.