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Wreck-It Ralph and 5 other classic movie characters who broke the internet


Everybody's favourite arcade game wrecking machine Wreck-It Ralph returns this November in Disney sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.

In the first movie, Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) became downhearted in his role as a gaming villain, but learned to embrace his destiny during the heart-warming conclusion.

This time around, Ralph discovers a Wi-Fi router in his arcade game, which leads him and sidekick Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) on a madcap journey into the realm of the internet. While there, they encounter a whole host of Disney princesses and proceed to play havoc with the workings of the world wide web to hilarious effect.

However, Ralph isn't the only movie character to have, quite literally, broken the internet…

1. Skynet – The Terminator franchise (1984 to present)

It's strange to think of computer programme Skynet as a character, but it very much plays an important, and malevolent, role throughout the convoluted Terminator series.

Throughout all five movies released so far, Skynet is revealed as the artificial intelligence that instigates the war between humans and the rampaging Terminator machines, which eventually plays out amid the post-nuclear wasteland of Earth.

As per the events of the most recent movie, 2015's Terminator: Genisys, Skynet quite literally breaks the internet by taking it over, using servers, mobile devices and all manner of other technology to do its bidding. Skynet's efforts are consolidated in the operating system of the title, prompting a race against time by the ageing T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney).

How will next year's Terminator 6 develop the Skynet threat, we wonder?

2. Dade – Hackers (1995)

Back in the days of 56k dial-up internet (that means very, very slow for all you millennials), teenagers could only dream that their online life was as cool as those characters featured in cult film Hackers.

Elementary's Jonny Lee Miller plays hacker Dade who got caught as a young child crashing thousands of computers, and has been sentenced to zero hours computer access until his 18th birthday (torture we know). However, our renegade hacker eventually turns hero (with the help of Angelina Jolie's Kate) and has to use his computer skills to break the internet and save the world in the process.

With a tagline that states "There is no right or wrong, only boring or fun", cult classic Hackers certainly lives up to its billing.

3. Neo – The Matrix (1999)

While everything that happens in Ralph Breaks the Internet promises to be a light-hearted yarn, the events of the Wachowskis' 1999 blockbuster The Matrix are much darker in tone.

The Matrix is a simulation of the real world that disguises the horrifying reality: that humans are in fact being grown and harvested by machines. Upon being 'unplugged', humans are able to understand their simulated reality, allowing them to bend physical laws and essentially giving them superhuman abilities.

Neo (Keanu Reeves) is mankind's last hope, and chosen one in the war against intelligent machines. Breaking the 'internet' in this case involves Neo leading the fight to free all humans from being hooked up to the online Matrix network. He and his allies must then engage in the real-world war against the robotic baddies. No pressure, then.

4. Samantha – Her (2013)

In the near future, an unlucky-in-love, lonely writer (Joaquin Phoenix) develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) named Samantha.

Written and directed by Spike Jonze, Her is an odd mixture of unsettling, romantic and hilarious. It's a movie that picks apart our relationship with technology as, through the medium of Samantha, we the audience become aware of how the internet allows us to escape from reality.

But aside from that, upon receiving an upgrade, Samantha herself appears to break the internet and indeed her programming, as she no longer needs matter for processing. Eventually, she leaves for a place beyond the physical world that we can only hope to see.

5. Edward Snowden – Snowden (2016)

In 2013, the now-infamous Edward Snowden shone a light on the world's vulnerable communications infrastructures by leaking 10,000 classified U.S documents. The documents that were leaked ignited a controversy over personal privacy, online rights and public security that totally changed how we think about the internet.

The ensuing Oliver Stone biopic brilliantly captures the seismic ramifications of Snowden's actions, actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt perfectly capturing his nervy mannerisms and anxiety.

Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 is released in Cineworld on 30th November.

Andy Furlong is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.