Dog’s Movie House: “Grinch,” “Ralph” Fine Animated Fare!
Howdy Folks! It’s The Kendog with a look at “The Grinch” and “Ralph Breaks The Internet!”
This fall brings to bare two of the big heavyweights in the animated movie department. Disney Animation and Illumination are going to the mat when it comes to the winter season and animated films! Illumination giving us their interpretation of the classic Dr. Seuss tale “The Grinch” while Disney is giving us the six-years in development sequel to “Wreck It Ralph,” “Ralph Breaks The Internet.”
“The Grinch” tells the tale of the title character, the green skinned curmudgeon who lives in the lonely mountain overlooking Whoville, the colorful city whose denizens live for Christmas. The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) hates Christmas with a passion. In the book (and the Chuck Jones classic cartoon) it’s simply because his heart was “two sizes to too small” but in this re-telling the Grinch gets a bit of a backstory involving his time at an orphanage. It adds a layer to the tale the almost justifies it’s padded runtime of 90 minutes. It helps that Cumberbatch voices the sarcastic Grinch with an undertone of sadness and regret. The Grinch isn’t really a bad guy: he’s just lonely and hides it under a mask of indifference and snark. The other voice actors are very good in their roles, with a nice subplot involving Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely) and her mother Donna (Rashida Jones) that again gives more emotional weight to the picture.
This being an Illumination film, you can expect some very funny sight gags (one involving a goat that just won’t go away is one you’ll remember) that harken back to the classic days of the Looney Tunes. The one thing I didn’t particularly care for was the rap version of “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” but as it’s not overtly obnoxious I’m willing to let that one slide. The message about needing to belong along with the spirit of Christmas being more important than the gifts are messages that are worth telling and this version of “The Grinch” definitely succeeds in that fashion. A holiday classic in the making. 4 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer!
Next we have “Ralph Breaks The Internet” the long awaited sequel to 2012’s “Wreck It Ralph.” Ralph (John C. Reilly) now happy with his lot in life at Litwak’s Arcade, spends his days as the bad guy in Fix-It Felix and his nights hanging out with his new best friend Vanellope (Sarah Silverman). But Vanellope wants a little more in life than just driving in the video game Sugar Rush. When an well-meaning effort by Ralph to help his best friend results in Sugar Rush being broken, it’s up to the two of them to navigate this new fangled thing called “the Internet” to find the replacement part before Vanellope becomes a character without a game. Along the way they’ll discover the wonders and pitfalls of the online world and find their friendship tested in ways they never thought possible.
This being Disney, “Ralph Breaks The Internet” has a lot more going for it than snazzy animation and about a million Easter eggs. It also has a deep, emotional engaging story that grounds all the animation sound a fury in a timeless tale about friendship and fitting in. In a way “Ralph” is very much like “The Grinch” in terms of theme and message: it just tell the story a bit differently.
Reilly is again a jewel as the well-meaning but loutish Ralph. When he discovers viral videos it becomes one of the many highlights of the film. Silverman’s high pitched delivery as Vanellope isn’t quite as grating this time around and her character’s arc may be even more poignant than Ralph;s. Other returning actors such as Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch bring their considerable talents to the fore, while newcomers Taraji P. Henson, Gal Gadot, and Alan Tudyk all do great work as well. Godot in particular is very good as Shank, the top driver in an internet game who becomes a mentor to Vanellope.
Some people may complain that Disney owning everything entertainment related is a bad thing, yet for the purposes of this film it’s great fun. Everything from Star Wars to the Disney Princesses gets a chance to shine and the Princess segment is one of the funniest moments in the film. All in all, “Ralph Breaks The Internet” is a sequel that matches the intelligence, heart, and humor of the original film. See it with your family over the holidays . . .you won’t be disappointed. 4 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!