Connect with us

Tech

How the creators of ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ showed two sides to life online

Published

on

Six years after the Oscar-winning success of Wreck-It Ralph, its creators delivered a full-blown satire in the shape of its sequel. Their target? The monetization of the web and its contrasting effects on two childlike video-game characters, best friends Ralph and Vanellope. In a bid to save Vanellope’s arcade racing game, the BFFs venture into the internet to buy a new steering wheel on eBay (where else?), only to lose their way in a sea of distractions. We’ve all been there.

“To put these [two] naive characters who don’t even know what money is on to the internet allowed us to shine a light on the fact that… it’s hard to avoid commerce [online],” said Johnston. “Without being terribly barbed in our satire, it was something we were interested in commenting on.”

To do so, Johnston and co-director Rich Moore brought the internet to life. Their world wide web is a sprawling metropolis with a skyline dominated by Google and Facebook’s big-tech skyscrapers (eBay, meanwhile, appears as a mega-mall). It’s a place where visitors ride self-flying shuttles to their next purchase… or discovery. On the ground, netizens — think email delivery men and security guards — go about their jobs, while pop-ups and spam with sallow-faced personas jostle for attention. A bespectacled search engine wearing a mortarboard completes everyone’s sentences. And a sassy female algorithm is the movie’s moral compass.

It’s enough to make a full-grown adult’s head spin. But as the film hurtles toward its King Kong-channeling climax, you have to wonder: Are kids in on the joke?

“The one thing children and adults can relate to is the idea that friendships change,” said Johnston. “And friendships go through difficult times.” A theme that’s at the heart of arguably the most-beloved CGI cartoon of all time, Toy Story.

Rich Moore and Phil Johnston

Here the internet helps it to take on new meaning. On the one hand, it amplifies Ralph’s insecurities, but for Vanellope, it helps realize her “one true dream.” Which just happens to be competing in a GTA Online clone called Slaughter Race. (Talk about subverting gender roles.) If only Ralph would quit holding her back.

“Insecurity as a literal monster was the big idea of the movie,” said Johnston. “We wanted Ralph’s insecurity and the toxic nature of that to be the antagonist of the film. Knowing that the internet can be a place where trolls and bullies… can prey on insecure people, it felt like a good thing to put Ralph through and a good conflict for our movie.”

It also sets up the most poignant moment in the film: When Ralph, basking in his newfound viral success on YouTube rival BuzzTube, stumbles upon the abusive comments left on his videos. It’s an all-too-real scene that confronts the duplicitous nature of the web.

“Social media can be a place where insecure adults could end up getting their feelings hurt,” said Moore. “And I could see where this could be something bad for children.” He continued: “But it does need to be a place where you can feel safe to let a young person use it. [The internet] is a great tool that should be open to anyone.

“I think like any invention, we will see it regulated in some way, so we don’t have to worry about young people, or even very sensitive adults, being hurt like they are now.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tech

NASA releases sharpest-ever images of distant Kuiper Belt object

Published

on

By

The space agency is keen to brag about the feat. New Horizons got closer to MU69 than it did its main target, Pluto, thanks to “unprecedented precision” in calculations across multiple countries. There was a real chance the camera would miss the object entirely, according to mission team Principal Investigator Alan Stern.

You’re not going to get better pictures than this, unfortunately. However, they’re good enough that they could provide further insights around the object’s formation and the kind of interactions it has roughly 4.1 billion miles from Earth. They’re brief snapshots, but they could provide years of insights.

Continue Reading

Tech

Judge says Washington state cyberstalking law violates free speech

Published

on

By

The ruling came after a retired Air Force Major, Richard Rynearson III, sued to have the law overturned. He claimed that Kitsap County threatened to prosecute him under the cyberstalking law for criticizing an activist involved with a memorial to Japanese victims of US internment camps during World War II. While Rynearson would use “invective, ridicule, and harsh language,” the judge said, his language was neither threatening nor obscene.

Officials had contended that the law held up because it targeted conduct, not the speech itself. They also maintained that Rynearson hadn’t shown evidence of a serious threat — just that the prosecutor’s office would see how Rynearson behaved and take action if necessary. A county court had already tossed out the activist’s restraining order against Rynearson over free speech.

It’s not clear whether Washington will appeal the decision. If the ruling stays, though, it could force legislators to significantly narrow the scope if it wants a cyberstalking law to remain in place. This might also set a precedent that could affect legislation elsewhere in the country.

Continue Reading

Tech

Steam now supports NextVR’s virtual reality broadcasts

Published

on

By

The Steam version of the software works with the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality devices. NextVR rolled out an iteration of the app for the Rift late last year, and it has supported the Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets longer than that. Its arrival on Steam means users don’t have to download it from the headsets’ app stores, though, such as HTC’s Viveport, which used to be infamously buggy.

David Cole, NextVR CEO, said in a statement:

“NextVR is driven to engage the largest possible audience to experience our content in virtual reality. Steam is a critically important platform to reach active virtual reality users. We’re excited to put our unparalleled live sports and entertainment experiences at the fingertips of the vibrant Steam user-base.”

Continue Reading

Categories

Recent Posts

Like Us On Facebook

Trending