Genre: CG Animation
Director: Sarah Smith and Jean-Philippe Vine
Cast: Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Olivia Colman, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Rob Delaney, Kylie Cantrall, Ricardo Hurtado, Marcus Scribner, Thomas Barbusca
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
Released By: Walt Disney
Official Website: https://www.instagram.com/ronsgonewrongmovie/
Opening Day: 21 October 2021
Synopsis: 20th Century Studios and Locksmith Animation’s “Ron’s Gone Wrong” is the story of Barney, a socially awkward middle - schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally - connected device , which is supposed to be his ‘ ”Best Friend out of the Box.” Ron’s hilario us malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age, launch them into an action - packed journey in which boy and robot come to terms with the wonderful messiness of true friendship.
One wonders whether the filmmakers behind this computer animated science fiction movie were inspired by Big Hero 6 (2014), Disney’s computer animated superhero movie about the friendship between a boy named Hiro and his healthcare provider robot known as Baymax.
In this first film from Locksmith Animation that is distributed by 20th Century Studios (which is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios, if you don’t know already), a boy named Barney befriends a robotic buddy known as Ron. Like Hiro and Baymax, Barney and Ron go on a pretty wild adventure that results in them saving the world (albeit at different magnitudes). Like Hiro, Ron is not the most sociable teenager but is very intelligent (a shoutout to all the geeks out there!). Like Baymax, Ron is white and is irresistibly adorable (bring on the merchandise!). Even the soundtrack scores of both movies give us a similar vibe, one that is techno inspired but friendly to the ears – that’s because Henry Jackman is the composer behind both movies.
The similarity between the two animated films isn’t a bad thing though, because this one directed by Sarah Smith and Jean Philippe Vine stands well on its own, mainly because of the relevancy of the themes explored. The story takes place in a future where we can see coming – kids become best friends with mass manufactured robotic buddies, each one promising to be unique and catering to each child’s needs. Every B bot (that’s what they are affectionately known as) will know your child’s favourite things, spend time doing things with your child based on his or her hobbies, and connect with his or her friends (yup, that’s how your social networking platforms may evolve into one day) through other B bots.
It’s a scary but very possible scenario, and we may all buy in to this because of all the convenience and customisations. Of course, we also know what this means for the company behind the ‘service’: lots and lots of data mining in the name of bringing us an even more advanced product. And lots of profit for the company, definitely.
Let’s not get too carried away with this discussion because the movie is, after all, a family friendly affair. Back to the story – the fun elements are aplenty, because the plot has it that Ron is slightly defective, and he behaves differently from the other B bots owned by Barney’s friends. For example, his security features are unlocked, which means he can get back at the bullies who are making things difficult for Barney. He also has a funny way of helping Barney make new friends, which provides plenty of opportunities for hilarious sequences.
This also gives Zach Galifianakis, the voice behind Ron, to showcase some truly comical voice acting. He is joined by an ensemble cast of recognised names which includes Jack Dylan Grazer (Luca), Ed Helms (Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie), Justice Smith (Pokémon Detective Pikachu) and Olivia Colman (fun fact: the award winning actress is has voiced several Thomas & Friends movies and more recently, The Mitchells vs. the Machines – she is a hoot here as Barney’s feisty grandma).
While the movie may not be the most original in exploring how technology is going to consume our lives, it is a very entertaining and well made family film that stands out. And because of Disney, you’ll even get some Star Wars and Marvel Easter eggs to have a good laugh.
(The family-friendly animated movie provides plenty of entertainment and reminds you that technology is here to stay. Meanwhile, someone give us a B-bot to befriend!)
Review by John Li