Movie Mixtape: 6 Movies To Watch After You See 'Ralph Breaks The Internet'

Ralph leaves the arcade for the internet in Ralph Breaks the Internet. For kids of a certain age with SafeSearch and a bunch of sites blocked, that might be a fun option, but for the parents and adult fans of Disney Animation's bad guy hero, there are enough headlines about social media to make staying in the warm belly of the arcade justified.

Luckily, Ralph (voiced once more by John C. Reilly) has his best friend, Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), to protect him if the cyber bullying gets too rough. It won't, because this is Disney, so they've depicted Twitter as a happy tree full of chirping birds sharing cat videos instead animating five dumpsters on fire next to a billboard that says, "This user didn't violate our rules surrounding abuse."

In the first genuine sequel in almost two decades (and arguably longer), Ralph has returned after learning to be a better person in the first film to a contented existence of wrecking things professionally and hanging out with Vanellope after punching the clock. Vanellope is antsy for adventure, and she gets it when a gamer breaks her wheel – sending her and Ralph into the big bad internet to order one. There they encounter a slew of memes, recognizable nostalgia nuggets, and a pile of new challenges.

So what to watch with it? Here are six suggestions.

Zootopia (2016)

Okay, so the movie doesn't avoid the dark corners of the internet entirely. Ralph gets a firsthand lesson in why you don't read the comments, and they travel to the dark web because Rich Moore and Phil Johnston saw how successful Zootopia was despite (or because of) its depiction of real-world issues like racism and sexism. After making Wreck-It-Ralph and Zootopia, Moore and Johnston wanted to utilize some of the latter's approach when crafting Ralph's next adventure.

Judy Hopps is also in Ralph 2, which serves as a good excuse to revisit Zootopia, which is just as sharp and engaging the second time around. Although, if you're going by cameos, you'll have to include MoanaBig Hero 6, and about two dozen other movies to your queue.

Tron (1982)

Speaking of another reported cameo, Tron is supposed to have a nod from Ralph 2 as well, which makes sense considering how much it owes to the cult favorite. A movie that takes place inside an arcade game console with an important racing game? Talk about a Codified Likeness Utility.

It's also worth a viewing because its pace is a hundred times slower. It's not aimed at children, not candy coated, and not user friendly. Yet the connective tissue is undeniable. If you want to think too deeply about it, consider why a nostalgia bomb like Tron: Legacy failed while Ralph seems to succeed while peddling a ton of nostalgia.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

There are two major reasons to connect these two movies.

One, the much-hyped Disney Princess scene where Vanellope crashes a green room full of classic characters. With her hoodie and impish attitude, she stands out from that crowd. The clash is a purposeful one that shows how portrayals of women have changed since Disney's first feature with its happy housemaid Snow White.

Two, these are the first and latest things the studio has created, and everything from the tools to the design to the content has changed dramatically over 80 years of animation later. Watching them as a double feature is like vaulting through time.

Super Mario Bros. (1993)

The two main threads we're exploring here are characters that Ralph Breaks the Internet wants to homage and the way intellectual property itself is utilized to jolt our pleasure centers with familiarity. Super Mario Bros. fits both bills because someone thought it would be awesome to turn the video game into a movie, and no one really understood how to do that.

If you haven't watched it in a while, it's a trip. A Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas-worthy trip. It's cheesy as all get out, almost none of it makes sense, but all of the actors gave it their best shot. The mushroom on top is that Mario making a cameo in Ralph Breaks the Internet was huge news even though it didn't come to pass. The question is why. Why is it something we noticed, let alone paid attention to during the production? Is it somehow a travesty that a video game-focused movie from one wing of the largest entertainment corporations doesn't include the most famous video game figure in history? In other words, is Zangief not enough?

Ready Player One (2018)

Fun fact: Ready Player One came out THIS YEAR. Hope you're having a great day.

It's inescapable, really. The notion of living inside a simulation preferable to our own world. Video games are now an industry that towers over filmmaking with games like Red Dead Redemption 2 making $725m in three days and people practically living inside them for extended periods of time.

Here, as with Ralph Breaks the Internet, is a story about adventuring into that virtual world, dancing around a thousand pop culture Easter Eggs, and trying to stay friends with literally anyone by the end.

Death Race 2000 (1975)

In Roger Corman's schlock epic, a road rally and national revolution against a totalitarian regime collide with a lot of innocent bystanders. Not only is the race treated like a video game with bonus points and manic violence, the mob of fans is ravenous for every gory element, and the government ends up operating a lot like a leader board.

Really, you'll get why I've included it when you see Ralph Breaks the Internet.

Parents: don't actually watch this after you and your little one see Ralph Breaks the Internet.

The Mix

What I've learned over the course of finding movies with connections to Ralph's internet adventure is that threading the needle between fan service and originality is fantastically difficult. The distance between Wreck-It-Ralph and The Emoji Movie isn't as far as we might imagine. Waving a recognizable icon in front of an audience – even an audience of children – isn't enough to maintain attention, let alone grow loyalty or a franchise.

I imagine one of the biggest challenges, weirdly, for making something like Ralph Breaks the Internet is knowing when to use a character like Tinker Bell or Rocket Raccoon and when to save the time for Ralphe and Vanellope, especially when an entire brand comprised of these characters is searching for as much synergy (yersh) as possible. Of the First Order Storm Troopers and Dumbo and Heihei, how many were mandated from up on high? How do you ensure you weave together the nostalgia and modern faves without leaning on them too heavily?

And what movies would you watch with Ralph Breaks the Internet?