Technology finally catches up to building Ralph Breaks The Internet
Wreck-It Ralph characters take on princesses, trolls and bullies in sequel
Since the 2012 Disney animated comedy Wreck-It Ralph, its film-makers said the technology has improved "probably 500 per cent".
Opening here on Nov 22, Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 is directed by Rich Moore, 55, and Phil Johnston, 47 - the former helmed the first movie. Johnston co-wrote the screenplays and Moore has story credits for both.
The technological challenge the pair gave themselves was to make the sequel feel huge and expansive.
After all, it boasts the highest number of characters - over 400 - in any Disney Animation film.
Moore said at our interview at the Viceroy L'Ermitage Beverly Hills hotel: "We would not be able to make the movie as it stands now, six years ago. We just didn't have the capability to process all the information that is up on screen.
"Even a year ago, I don't think we could have done it with the technology that we had."
Ralph Breaks The Internet brings back the titular baddie-with-the-heart-of-gold Ralph (John C. Reilly) and his cute-as-a-button best friend Vanellope (Sarah Silverman).
The two still live in the arcade where Ralph is the villain of the game Fix-It Felix and Vanellope is a racer in the game Sugar Rush.
When the steering wheel of Vanellope's game breaks, the owner shuts down Sugar Rush because a replacement part would cost more than the game makes in a year.
But Ralph and Vanellope learn they can find the part on eBay and decide to make a trip and save the game because the arcade is online for the first time.
Johnston said: "This is our third movie together, the first Ralph and then Zootopia (2016) and now this. We have sort of a shorthand, where we can anticipate the way the other would react to things. Two halves of the same broken brain is how I describe it."
Vanellope ends up meeting the Disney princesses, most of whom are voiced by the original actors.
Johnston said: "At first she thinks she has nothing in common with them. Then she becomes friends with them in the end. And to put Sarah Silverman in the middle of the iconic Disney princesses, we thought would be funny too."
The names of real Internet companies are also used in the movie, and the audience will see Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Snapchat and IMDb on signs all over the Internet for authenticity.
Johnston said: "We didn't get permission from any of them. As it turns out, copyright law allows us to use the names and the brands as long as we are not using, say, Ronald McDonald or a character associated with the brand. "
It was also important to show the spam, viruses and dark Web, "not just to make it black and white but a lot of grey", according to Johnston.
He said: "We didn't want to present the Internet world as all wonderful and great. Because no one would believe that or view that as authentic."
There is also a comment section where Ralph experiences bullying and online trolls.
He added: "I think everyone in some capacity has gone through something like that, and we wanted to put Ralph in that position."
New characters include Shank, voiced by Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot, a driver from gritty online auto-racing game Slaughter Race.
Moore said the Israeli actress was first on their list to play Shank.
"She was our dream name. We didn't actually think she would do it, but we are slightly delusional so we wrote her a letter. She responded and we got on the phone with her. She had read the script by then, and on the call she said, 'I am in, I want to do it.' And within a few weeks, we were recording with just a wonderful person to work with."
They told her she had to sing too, and she was on board with that.
Moore said: "She said, 'Oh, I love to sing.' For someone who has never done voiceover work before, she attacked it head-on. She was perfect because (Shank) is supposed to be a cool big sister to Vanellope. She is everything that Ralph isn't."