The latest animation release from 20th Century Fox, Ron’s Gone Wrong, hits theatres, and it feels like it needed a couple of updates and patches before they let it loose.
The basic story is sound enough. It’s about a young boy, Barney (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer), who’s a bit of an awkward fella. Unlike the rest of his friends, he doesn’t have the latest gadget. That gadget is a B-Bot, which acts like your best friend out of the box. It’s like a rolling mobile phone wired in to all the social media platforms. The kids can personalize it and it keeps people from interacting with each other through anything other than their tech.
When Barney finally gets a B-Bot, it acts like it fell off the truck and has a lot of damages. Barney is introduced to Ron (Zach Galifianakis). And he has to teach the bot to be his friend instead of having everything preprogrammed into it. This changes everything as he learns to interact with the world and what it really means to be a friend.
It also helps him, kind of, connect to actual people.
There are a lot of other plots going on, including a bit of skewering of Apple and data gathering devices and platforms. It doesn’t really resolve the data gathering issue issue really, and how could it, as it is still going on in the real world. There’s also a number of other social media issues that are brushed up against. There are many filmmakers who can turn each issue and make a film about them. Instead, these issues appear as slender story threads.
In fact there is so much going on in the film that even at its hour and forty-six minute run time, it feels rushed, and none of the characters get their due. The film, consequently, feels uneven. It’s as if they filmmakers wanted to squeeze as much into the film as they could. Like countless pop-ups and ads blocking your screen.
The animation style is solid, the concept is good, and the B-Bots honestly feel like they could very well be the next big thing in the real world. But the film needs to be more streamlined, smoothed over, and focused.
It’s a bit of a mess, and it’s really too bad. That’s because there’s a great idea in depicting an awkward kid and his broken robot discovering how to really be friends. That entails a lot of things that translates into the rest of his life, like his interactions with his classmates. All of this can resonate with viewers well. Instead it loses that effect in all the things and various character moments (and sight gags) that are going on.
There’s a solid heart to the film, but its presentation is a little too wide of the mark, and consequently, leaves me waiting for an update or a patch for it, that I believe isn’t going to show.
- Rated: PG
- Genre: Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi
- Release Date: 10/15/2021
- Directed by: Jean-Philippe Vine, Octavio E. Rodriguez, Sarah Smith
- Starring: Ed Helms, Jack Dylan Grazer, Justice Smith, Kylie Cantrall, Olivia Colman, Rob Delaney, Zach Galifianakis
- Produced by: Julie Lockhart, Lara Breay
- Written by: 20th Century Studios, Locksmith Animation
- Studio: Carol Heikkinen, Miranda Leiggi, Peter Baynham