Wreck-It Ralph, the arcade game villain-turned-hero, is back for another brand name-packed installment, and this time, he’s going online. The teaser for Ralph Breaks the Internet shows John C. Reilly’s Ralph and Sarah Silverman’s Vanellope “The Glitch” hurdling into “The Internet,” a bustling, colorful, futuristic city full of billboards for real websites like IMDb, EBay, and YouTube Red, alongside fake ones like The Daily Boast. (Did some sites refuse to pay up?)
The world of the internet seems like a natural leap for the Wreck-It-Ralph franchise. The concept of the sympathetic video game villain has been floating around Disney since the late ’80s, following the golden age of arcade games, though the character didn’t come into being until 2012. And bringing Ralph online, to the world of cat pictures and milkshake-themed iPad games, is a fitting 21st century upgrade.
And if envisioning the internet as a shopping mall full of distracting salespeople competing for your attention sounds familiar, it might be because of this 2004 Chappelle’s Show skit, in which Dave Chappelle tries to walk through the online marketplace with his free music downloads without getting stopped by all the titillating offers. Of course, the spam of Disney’s internet (“Congratulations, YOU’RE a winner,” “These 10 child stars went to prison, number 6 will amaze you!”) is a lot more innocent than the creepy Ron Jeremy spam of Chappelle’s internet (“Wanna see me have sex?,” “Wanna see Paris Hilton have sex with her boyfriend?”). Ah, 2004: A simpler time.