Endless product placement and cameos are all unsettling about Disney

It’s like being locked in a Disney store

At the beginning of Ralph breaks the internet, the adorable doofus “Wreck It” Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and sweet-voiced little Vanellope (voiced by Sarah Silverman) are still best friends and enjoy the simplicity of their lives as game characters. video. When the steering wheel attached to Vanellope’s “Sugar Rush” breaks, she and Ralph embark on an Internet quest to find a steering wheel replacement in a country called eBay.

There are moments of true genius inside Ralph breaks the internet but it also left me unsatisfied and fishy because of the endless parade of product placements and shameless commercialism in the film. I had fun watching this, although I felt it was more of a product than an emotional story at the end. It’s one thing to put a movie on the World Wide Web and tease how the system works, but it’s less of a web upload than a lavish Super Bowl commercial.

In many ways, this represents all that is unsettling about Disney’s dominance over pop culture. Seeing a movie like this, with countless product placements, endless lists of iconic characters making pop-up cameos and giant franchises existing in the same space, is a numbing and deafening experience. If a Storm Trooper and Snow White can exist in the same space, then why is the story valid or special? Specifically, the uniqueness and distinct qualities of an individual narrative are set aside so fans can quickly spot a favorite character, who says a few lines and then disappears. Sick, man!

In fact, it is not.

Loan Player One Proved it in early 2018: if you have a cameo appearance by, say, Chucky the Killer Doll, who shows up in an instant and then disappears, that belittles the character, who deserves his own movie. I know Marvel is on the rise, but building a universe isn’t necessary for every franchise, let alone every movie studio. Ralph breaks the internet suggests that all Disney has lives in a shared universe. Have someone stop this trend before the next sequel takes place in a library, with March’s sisters Lolita, Katniss Everdeen, and Hermione go kart racing.

It’s supposed to act like satire, but it could only work that way if it was done by a rival studio; watching a Disney movie tease their collection of iconic princesses isn’t a comedy, it’s a strategic pat on the back. The same goes for internet gags, which are obvious and limited. Is this film intended to teach children how the Internet works? At best, it’s superior to the moron The Emoji movie. While there are plenty of visualizations for things like pop-up ads and online auctions, it avoids adding dramatic gravity to the setting, like the Tron movies do.

Consider again the much-vaunted Disney Princesses streak, in which every character defined by that term appears in a reunion to give Vanellope advice. Moana is one of the guests and is, once again, voiced by Auli’i Cravalho. This should be a big deal. This is not the case, as Cravalho has virtually no lines and everything that makes Moana a powerful character is missing from the scene. The same can be said of Ariel, Elsa and all the others.

Ralph breaks the internet gets really weird at the end, with spooky images that made the little kids sitting around me cry out loud during the screening. The last scene is so that’s all there is, I was grateful for the fun scenes hidden in the end credits. In the end, despite some potentially interesting ideas, it seems that no real argument has been made. Mentioning very grown-up concepts like the “dark web” and cruelty visible in comment sections should give rise to moral commentary, but these issues are put aside as soon as they arise.

When the film takes a break from companies and products that have lost their name, in order to build a story and character development, there are great moments. The extended streak inside a “Grand Theft Auto” type game is wonderful. The same goes for the music number out of nowhere playing like a cracked shard (it’s the only Disney convention blunder that lands). Best of all is the chemistry between Reilly and Silverman, which is rich enough to support our investment in these characters. When the film presents existentialist questions about what it means to be happy and what makes a good friend, it works. When it stacks up on product placement, Ralph breaks the internet it’s like being locked in a Disney store.

Two and a half stars

Classified PG / 112 min.

Image courtesy IMDB

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