Societal Conclusions

Ralph and Vanellope repeatedly raise the bid of their wheel. The defeated and stunned bystander's mouth hangs open.

The Internet has pitfalls for inexperienced users.

When Vanellope and Ralph are bidding on the steering wheel, they don’t understand the significance of what they’re doing. They think they just have to say the highest number to win. This results in them bidding the wheel up to $29,001, even though they could have easily won with a much lower bid. This could represent children or adults who are new to the internet failing to understand that what happens online can have real consequences. In an interview regarding the scene, co-director Phil Johnston said "To put these naive characters who don't even know what money is on the internet allowed us to shine a light on the fact that... it's hard to avoid commerce [online]" [1]. eCommerce is only one, albeit one of the more harmful ways, inexperienced users could struggle with the internet. Shortly after they first arrive on the internet, there’s a scene where Ralph struggles to ask KnowsMore a question because of his autocorrect. To those who are familiar with the internet, this seems like a trivial mistake. However, the internet doesn’t have an instruction manual. This scene shows that people who aren’t experienced with the internet could struggle in ways that regular users might not even consider. Later, when Ralph releases the virus into Slaughter Race, he doesn’t do it with malicious intent. Trouble can occur online even if nobody is truly trying to cause it. Hopefully this movie will make people more aware of the dangers of the internet and cause them to be more careful while using it.

The Internet can distract and mislead us.

As Ralph and Vanellope approach eBay, Ralph starts looking at a bunch of pop up ads. Vanellope has to drag him into eBay so they stay on task. The movie also portrays the human avatars as being easily distracted by pop up ads that whiz them off to somewhere far from their original destination. Finally, there are the scenes in the office where everyone is watching Ralph’s videos instead of doing their work. Viewers of this movie might become more aware of how much time they spend on their phone or surfing the web, and start to re-evaluate their priorities. The internet not only gives us distractions, but also overwhelms us with possibilities and choices. Originally, when Vanellope and Ralph get out of Slaughter Race, Ralph wants to go back to Spamley, but Vanellope wants to go to BuzzzTube and meet Yesss. This conflict highlights the overwhelming amount of choices and ways of doing things on the internet. The internet forces us as a society to grapple with the paradox of choice [3].

Ralph is easily distracted by pop-up ads as Vanellope drags him into eBay.
Yesss swipes away videos she no longer deems trendy.

The Internet moves very fast.

“... things are moving so fast.” voice actor John C. Reilly says in an interview. “I mean, the news cycle these days is like two days tops. [...] People think like ‘I’m famous’ then like, well, it’s two days later and no one knows who you are again.” In the movie, Ralph becomes a BuzzzTube superstar and then falls back into irrelevance in a matter of hours. This is somewhat exaggerated, but representative of real-life social media content.[2]

Sources

[1] Shah, S. "How the Creators of 'Ralph Breaks the Internet' Showed Two Sides to Life Online." Engadget, 12 Feb. 2019,
https://www.engadget.com/2019-02-12-ralph-breaks-the-internet-interview.html Accessed May 2, 2021.

[2] "Ralph Breaks the Internet Interviews: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Taraji P. Henson." YouTube, 5 Nov. 2018,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf5bNkKWQi0. Accessed May 2, 2021.

[3] Schwartz, Barry. "The paradox of choice: Why more is less." New York: Ecco, 2004.
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5df3bc9a62ff3e45ae9d2b06/t/5e384fcdf7bd6b4910e2cc17/1580748751460/Paradox+of+Choice.Schwartz.EBS.pdf. Accessed May 1, 2021.