“The bunny gets the paaaaancake…” What fresh hell is this?
Disney’s sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 loads into theaters this Thanksgiving, and if its new teaser trailer is any indication, that feels more like a threat than something to celebrate. The first film is a wry, retro blowout fueled by our obsessive nerdom for classic arcade games. The follow-up looks to force the old school into the modern hell of the internet, and I found this trailer to be absolutely menacing. You better mentally prepare yourself for this one, folks.
When Litwak’s Family Fun Center attempts to get with the times by hooking up their arcade games to the internet, Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) gain access into a universe they are ill equipped to handle. Are any of us? Ralph is wary of the Game Central Station’s new WIFI corridor, but Vanellope the adventurer is gung ho in her enthusiasm.
The film’s tagline of “A new connection will change the world” acts as a perilous warning for us all. As we witness Ralph and Vanellope pass beyond the infinite and drop down into the central hub, they are buffeted by an endless sea of product placement. The original Wreck-It Ralph certainly prayed on our wallets by showcasing addictive IPs like Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog, but as the sequel ventures into cyberspace, we’re attacked with company logos. National Geographic, YouTube Red, IMDB, and Ebay. There’s no escaping the bottomless supply of black velvet paintings of sorrowful kittens.
Then we have the Pop-Up nightmare. Imprisoned programs shoving ads in Ralph’s face. “These 10 child stars went to prison; number six will amaze you.” Ralph is all of us. There is nothing good to be ventured by that click, but we gotta know about Number Six. Don’t fall into the trap, Ralph. Learn from our mistakes. Get the heck outta there.
The teaser concludes with a true trial of torment. Ralph and Vanellope step behind the curtain of the mindless children’s app game. While a parent attempts to pacify their kid in the car with an infinite access to the iPad, our two heroes hijack the digital babysitter. The simple soothing swipe game of Pancake/Milkshake is horrendously transformed into a grotesque phantasm I’ll never forget. Ralph cracks the code, helping the child to victory by shoveling pancake after pancake after pancake into the poor, helpless bunny’s gob. The sound effect of the syrupy squish of the pancake through the bunny’s mouth gives me the freaking heebie-jeebies, but the resulting offscreen pop that leads into the child’s scream is as scary as anything Blumhouse could concoct. That kid and I will never be the same again.
Vanellope might never get over the haunting gaze of a sorrowful kitten, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to push that POP sound effect from my brain. After this trailer, I hope Ralph does break the internet. It’s obviously a land of atrocity and I just want to return to the pleasant dreams of my Sega Genesis.