ANNECY, France — In one of the week’s most highly-anticipated presentations, “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2,” Disney presented five previously unseen clips from Disney’s upcoming blockbuster at the Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival.
In the first installment of the series, released in 2012, Ralph starts our as the maligned baddie in the fictional classic arcade game “Fix it Felix,” where it is his job to destroy buildings before the much-loved hero Felix can repair them.
Not content with his dastardly role, Ralph sets out to become a hero, and along the way meets the glitchy Vanellope Von Schweetz. The two share a series of adventures and become BFFs through their shared adversity.
In the second film, the action kicks off when the now seemingly-perfect world that Ralph and Vanellope have built for themselves is threatened by a broken steering wheel on the Sugar Rush game Vanellope calls home. If a replacement can’t be secured, arcade manager Mr. Litwak will be forced to sell the game’s hardware for parts, leaving Vanellope and all her co-characters homeless.
In the day’s first clip from the upcoming sequel, presented by co-head of animation Kira Lehtomaki and co-head of story Josie Trinida, Ralph and Vanellope have recently made the decision to enter the prohibited portal to a “game” called WiFi, and bravely make their way onto the internet to secure a replacement steering wheel from eBay. The pair ascend into the arcade’s router, but can’t seem to figure out just how it works. That is until Mr. Litwak connects his iMac, which opens a path for the two to blast through a series of fiber optic cables and into the unimaginably-massive world of The Internet.
In clip two, Ralph has located a “Search Bar,” tended by a diminutive librarian-looking fellow named Mr. Knowsmore, who constantly interrupts as Ralph tries to enter his search parameters. Vanellope quickly realizes that Knowsmore is just eager to help predict what it is Ralph is looking for, and more clearly asks for directions to the eBay page of the replacement steering wheel.
The third clip picked up after Ralph and Vanellope have made their way to eBay, a massive center full of auction blocks, broken up into key categories. With help from Ralph, Vanellope gets a birds-eye view of the auction-house where she is able to locate the sale they are looking for, and just in time as there are only 30 seconds left to place bids. A laugh-provoking series of last second bids from the pair ends with Ralph placing a winning bid of $27,001. It’s clear from their exchange however that the two don’t exactly understand what they’ve gotten themselves on the hook for.
The penultimate clip started with the two at the eBay check-out counter where they are told the steering wheel will be delivered a full two days before Mr. Litwak plans to disassemble the Sugar Rush game. The joy this announcement instills in the two is quickly dampened however, when the cashier asks how the two would like to pay. Ralph tries to guess a credit card number, but when 7 and 11 fail to work, they are told they have 24 hours in which to pay for the item, or they will lose the bid and the auction will be invalidated.
The fifth and final clip of the day was the best-received by the Annecy crowd, and is alluded to in the film’s trailer. Having been chased through the “Oh My Disney” fanpage by a group of “Star Wars” imperial storm troopers, Vanellope uses her glitching abilities to teleport into a restricted room. It’s here that she runs into the Disney’s roster of iconic princesses.
The scene is full of jokes, many poking fun at some of Disney’s older films with themes that don’t quite hold up to modern sensibilities, which had the Annecy crowd roaring with laughter. It was here that the French-speaking audience had the advantage of subtitles, as the jokes were so quick to come, and so well-received that at times it was hard to hear what was being said. This is a film likely to require multiple viewings if one wishes to catch everything.
Once the clip had finished the audience was treated to a behind-the-scenes look at the many voice actors who returned to play the characters they voiced years and decades ago.
Finally, an early animation test for “The Little Mermaid’s” Ariel was screened; drawn by Disney’s Mark Henn, the original animation supervisor for five of the represented princesses.
“Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2” will release Nov 21 in the U.S.