Ron’s Gone Wrong is the first feature from a brand new studio on the animation scene, Locksmith Animation. Narratively it had a lot in common with this year’s other big “malfunctioning robot” film, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, as well as Disney’s Big Hero Six, but it manages to set itself apart, and is its own thing entirely. But is that enough?
Ron’s Gone Wrong is cute, funny, and definitely creative, but at the same time, in the long run, it feels like its going to end up being rather forgettable. I realize I’m probably not in the target audience, and that definitely plays a huge factor in things, But this day and age, if a studio is going to make a movie with the express intent to get it into theaters, they need to make a concerted effort in crafting a film the will definitely appeal to the whole family. Otherwise, if it’s just for kids, why not just drop it on streaming?
And while Ron’s Gone Wrong, to some extent does make that effort, they didn’t go far enough, and in some cases may have only been writing with kids in mind, or rather with what they think kids want, in mind.
Let’s start with the good. The titular character Ron was cute, funny, and definitely memorable, which is a great accomplishment, since he’s literally just one of one hundred million identical robots. It’s great how glitchy he was, and Zach Galifianakis was perfect in the role. I’ve loved Zach since his role in the FX dramedy Baskets, so it’s always a treat to find him in something I was not expecting him in.
I also loved Barney’s Bulgarian Grandmother, but I love most hilarious old lady characters, so she was probably a given for me.
Aside from them, the rest of the characters, were kind of just template characters we’ve seen a million times, and I don’t even remember any of their names. Except Barney, but that’s because repeating his name many times over was a significant plot point.
Although, now that I think about it, I suppose the same things could be said for the characters I did like too… The only difference was I thought they were a lot of fun.
The main story was pretty good, if semi-predictable: a boy get’s malfunctioning robot for his birthday, boy and robot must learn to understand each other, while facing outside forces that would keep them apart. We’ve seen this before, but like I said, I do think this story does manage to set itself apart, and is unique enough that it can stand on its own.
The big thing I disliked in the film, was the pseudo-dytopian-nightmare world that the filmmakers have imagined for the children that live in this movie. Everyone has their own B-Bot, which doubles as their own automatic YouTube channel. They are basically online 24/7, uploading literally everything they do to the internet, except for when they go to school, To me, their lives seem to be a living nightmare, that I would not want foisted upon my worst enemy.
Part of me wonders (worries?) that this is the kind of life the children of today want, though the more cynical side of me thinks that this is what out-of-touch Hollywood execs think the children of today want, and wrote them accordingly. I dislike both scenarios.
Another issue was that there were also a lot of technology/internet-related things in this, that felt like they were either written by people who do not understand technology or social media AT ALL, or they do, and they were trying to dumb things down for kids, and it ending up making certain plot points feel dumb. Especially the big “emotional” twist at the end, which just made me roll my eyes. It wasn’t TERRIBLE, but it didn’t give me any of the feels that I could tell it was trying desperately to give me.
I know it feels like I’m ragging on this film, and to some extent, I am, but in the end, despite the fact that I think a bunch of it could have used some serious re-writes, I did have fun with a lot of this film. Like I said, Ron and the grandmother were my favorite characters, and they had a lot of screen time, so even with the things I didn’t like, I still had fun, and I would probably recommend this to animation fans with kids. Especially ones who are less picky than me.
And while this film didn’t blow me away or anything, I do think it was a legitimately decent first film for a brand new studio, and I am going to be looking forward to seeing what else Locksmith Animation has to offer in the future.
What about you? Have you seen Ron’s Gone Wrong yet? What did you think of Locksmith Animation’s first feature film?