Henry Jackman (Kong: Skull Island, Captain Phillips, Kingsman) returns to composing duties for Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, the sequel to 2012’s Wreck-It Ralph. The soundtrack runs to a grand total of 35 songs and a total runtime of 74 minutes, so this review will not attempt to touch on every track individually, instead highlighting tracks of particular note.
Following on in the tradition of its predecessors soundtrack, it opens with tracks from Imagine Dragons ‘Zero’, one that features the cast ‘A Place Called Slaughter Race’, which includes vocals from Gal Gadot and Sarah Silverman, and Julia Michaels ‘In This Place’ which is a remix of the previous track with more of a pop theme going on. It works rather well, all in all. Jackman’s score makes up the rest of the album and is tonally very similar to the original film, with a new take on Wreck-It’s opening theme in track number 4, ‘Best Friends’.
The light, electronic tone of the original is still here, with themes and motifs brought over from the original to add a nice feeling of continuity between the two films. Fans of the original soundtrack will find plenty to like here. Track 9, ‘The Internet’, starts slowly before weaving in increasingly complex harmonies and instruments before ending on a triumphant, hopeful note.
READ MORE: Ralph Breaks the Internet – Film Review
In more whimsical mood we move past ‘KnowsMore & Spamley’ to Track 11, ‘Site Seeing’, a short, joyous track of swelling strings and horns underpinned by that now-familiar electronic beat. A short, entertaining little track that would fit in well to any number of possible scenes.
Track 14, ‘Shank, opens with a deep, throaty snarl of strings and low, ominous piano before the rocking drums kick in and the song shifts up a gear. Piano now backed by a wailing electric guitar, the track morphing into something that would not sound entirely out of place in a James Bond soundtrack or some 80’s cop show full of fast cars and exotic locales.
However, Track 19, ‘Vanellope’s March’, is hands down the best on the entire album. Fans of a certain franchise far, far away will immediately recognise the two main themes that have been liberally “borrowed” here. One side benefit of the House of Mouse now owning the aforementioned sci-fi franchise. Track 24, ‘Scanning for Insecurities’, sees the return of the piano and the electric guitar in another fast-paced track before veering off into something that would seem quite at home in Star Wars, conjuring up memories of a certain swampy planet where a green muppet went to retire after it all went wrong (no, not Kermit). Meanwhile, Track 26. ‘Replicate-It-Ralph’, is a return to the more ominous side of things. Sharp, thumping horns and sawing strings foretell unpleasant things in the offing.
Track 30 “A Big Strong Man In Need of Rescuing” could be considered the second “easter egg” in this album after Vanellope’s March. Where the March borrowed two themes, this track borrows, well, as many as it possibly can as it tips its hat to pretty much every Disney Princess you can think of in the space of just less than two minutes.
Track 31, ‘Letting Go’, is a beautifully melancholic piece, a respite from all that has gone before, a chance to gather breath and take stock as the story and the album draw to a close. The tonal whiplash between Track 31 and 32, ‘Comfort Zone’, is almost enough to leave a listener’s neck aching as the soft strings and piano of the preceding track are abruptly replaced with garishly loud and upbeat synths. The track itself is fine, just fine, but it is curiously placed, sandwiched as it is between two much softer and more thoughtful tracks. The main score ends with ‘Worlds Apart’, another more wistful track of soaring strings that ends things on a somewhat bittersweet note.
Even though we were somewhat underwhelmed by the film, the soundtrack is another solid offering from Henry Jackman. While not quite a wholehearted recommendation that it should be purchased, it is certainly worth a listen on its own merits. The one major complaint is that some of the tracks do rather blend into one another, hence the focus on only the truly stand-out ones in this review.