When Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz accidentally doom Sugar Rush to the salvage yard, they set off into a bold new universe -- the world wide web -- on a journey that tests the core of their friendship. On Digital 4K, Ralph Breaks the Internet looks and sounds terrific, boasting a candy-coated Dolby Vision presentation, an immersive Dolby Atmos mix, and 10 bonus features. Recommended. (Please note: the affiliate links on this site are for the 4K Blu-ray.)
Ralph Breaks the Internet picks up a few years after the events of Wreck-It Ralph. Ralph and Vanellope are best friends who spend all of their free time together, but things are changing. Where Ralph sees his life as perfect, content to be doing the same things over and over and over, Vanellope is craving more. When Ralph attempts to help Vanellope by building a new track in Sugar Rush, there's an accident and the driver's wheel snaps off of her arcade game, dooming Vanellope's universe and her friends to the salvage yard because a replacement wheel is too expensive.
The only way to save Sugar Rush? Set off on a journey through the Internet to get the replacement wheel from eBay. Along the way, Ralph gets sucked into the dark web and viral videos while Vanellope finds a Grand Theft Auto-esque racing universe -- a racing game without limits -- that might be just the "more" she's been craving. Friendships are tested. The Internet is mocked. And all-in-all, it's a pretty fun time.
I'll leave our full review duties to Moises Duarte when he reviews the Ultra HD Blu-ray (coming soon!), but my two cents on Wreck-It Ralph 2 are pretty simple. The movie eventually won me over for the way it focuses on Ralph and Vanellope's friendship; they each have an honest emotional arc and to see them struggling with their differences, and the mistakes that follow, is genuinely emotional. However, I'd also argue the movie feels a little forced in comparison to the original film. Where Wreck-It Ralph feels effortless -- its structure is super tight while its jokes are sharp and cleaver -- Ralph Breaks the Internet feels plotty and the jokes more obvious. It's a movie where I feel like I can see the filmmakers pulling strings at times, as opposed to the first movie feeling more organic. Perhaps it's just harder to lampoon the present than it is decades past. Either way, it personally took me a while to connect with the movie, but, as mentioned above, it ultimately won me over with an exciting climax and an earnest story.
Vital Stats: The 4K Digital Copy
Ralph Breaks The Internet is currently available for purchase on numerous streaming services, some of which include 4K playback. We purchased this copy from VUDU.com, which includes support for Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos. 10 Bonus Features are also included. The cost for this is currently $25, so not a big savings over the $30 Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack, which should include a code to unlock 4K digital streaming rights.
Ralph Breaks the Internet boasts a sumptuously-rendered 2160p HEVC encode with Dolby Vision HDR.
It's always a pleasure watching CGI animated movies. Since the first days of Blu-ray and HD streaming, they're marvelous technical delights, blending sharp imagery, eye-popping colors, and perfect contrast. Jumping into the 4K universe has been interesting for these types of films because they're almost always produced at a 2K resolution for theatrical presentations (4K CGI is a LOT more expensive). But, while CGI animated movies might not be much sharper in 4K, we still have the benefit of high dynamic range and wide color gamut.
For the Ralph films, which are set in wondrously colorful game worlds, the experience is a delight and the perfect way to show off your 4K display. In particular, the Sugar Rush locations and the megacity depiction of The Web sparkle with brilliant colors and plenty of details. Scenes set in The Dark Web reveal deep black levels and pitch-perfect contrast that should look dynamite for anyone watching on an OLED.
The other benefit of watching 4K digital streams is superior HEVC codec (versus MPEG 4); where Ralph Breaks the Internet looks good on via the HD stream, there are few macroblocking and minor banding issues. The 4K stream looks sharp and clear and error-free even during the film's visually-busy climax, proving just how far streaming has come in the last decade.
Is it better than a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray? I can't say, having only watched the digital versions thus far. However, in my experience, I find the physical releases add an extra layer of definition and detail courtesy of the extra bandwidth. Still, I was very impressed with this VUDU UHD presentation.
Ralph Breaks the Internet boasts an articulate, immersive (Dolby Digital Plus based) Dolby Atmos mix that's sure to delight audio geeks among us.
I wouldn't say it's in the same league as the greatest Atmos mixes ever, but that's really my only nitpick,. Otherwise, Wreck-It Ralph 2 does everything we love about great audio mixes and the Dolby Atmos format. The dialog and vocal performances are clear. Sound effects and voices are placed all around the audience. The sound effects themselves are dynamic and you can hear the details even in the most complex scenes as they pan around and above. The LFE isn't life-changing, but it delivers a few big kicks during key moments. And Henry Jackman's digital score sounds great too.
If you're a Dolby Atmos geek like me, you're going to enjoy this mix, which I suspect will sound even better -- slightly clearer and more dynamic -- on the Ultra HD Blu-ray, which uses the losses TrueHD version of Atmos. Still, I've got a room full of Klipsch Reference Premiere speakers right now that love to highlight how bad your audio source truly is... and, friends, this 4K Digital Dolby Atmos track has the goods.
Purchasing Ralph Breaks the Internet on VUDU.com includes 10 bonus features:
While Ralph Breaks the Internet doesn't feel as effortless and structurally tight as its predecessor, the film won me over by focusing on the importance of healthy friendships. Home theater enthusiasts looking for the ultimate picture and audio quality should probably spend the extra $5 to get the Ultra HD Blu-ray Ultimate Collector's Edition, but I have very few complaints about watching this film digitally with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. In short, it's a delight of demo-worthy HDR and audio moments. Recommended for those who are done with physical media.