Vanellope, the firecracker gear head of the Wreck It Ralph franchise, is the only animated character Sarah Silverman lends her voice to on the big screen. That’s a big deal. That alone makes the recently-released sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, independently and imposingly entertaining. Silverman, who is not always everyone’s favorite person at the movies, is a uniquely-gifted voice actor in that hers is a defining voice. It’s 90 percent of what makes this Last Week Tonight with John Oliver skit such a knockout. Hers is a central feature, a pillar to the overall characterization, in defining who Vanellope is. Little Vanellope von Schweetz is largely that voice. You wouldn’t say the same for her co-star John C. Reilly, who plays Ralph. (It’s probably his size, his strength. In this movie, it’s also his heaping insecurity.) That this the animated film Silverman features in makes it singularly significant and delightful.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is better than its predecessor. It has more feeling. It has more fun. It has more laughs. Partly, this is because, like the RPGs Vanellope dreams of breaking into, it has fewer boundaries. In building the world for this movie inside of a wireless router, it’s making a commentary on the internet and its users that’s equally as nostalgic as it is self-deprecating. It turns out it’s fun to laugh at the way we use the internet (or, sometimes, the way the internet uses us), to see a search engine imagined as a antsy, suggestive librarian and eBay as aisles of independent auctions happening in a large convention center (and, moreover, to see the two main characters get so entertained by the thrill of virtual bidding that they start essentially bidding against themselves). Oh, and Disney princesses. It invents an entire virtual world where bitmojis of ourselves are zipping around in bubbles. The imagination is palpable. It’s vibrant and colorful. It’s boundless and extremely entertaining.
Ralph Breaks the Internet: ★★★ 1/2