Review by Dan Skip Allen
The world has become so dependent on technology in the last couple of decades with smart devices popping up everywhere you look. Smart washing machines, garage door openers, and alarm systems are all the rage these days. That being said, middle school kids shouldn't have robots that do everything for them and are their best friends included in that. It just shows how shallow of a society we live in that we can't develop friends without social media and YouTube channels. Ron's Gone Wrong is an indication of our devolving society.
Barney is an awkward middle schooler who doesn't relate to other kids because he doesn't have the hottest new device every other kid in his school has. It's dubbed your "best friend out of the box". When they realize Barney wants what all the other kids have, his father finally caves and buys him a do it all robot. Barney calls him Ron, but Ron isn't everything he thought he would be. This causes more problems than he can imagine, socially and otherwise. Technology isn't everything it's cracked up to be.
This film is giving the wrong message to parents and kids when it suggests that society should be dependent on technology such as smartphones and smart devices in general. Kids, especially middle schoolers, don't need to have smart devices to take them away from a more in-person social existence. They should be interacting with their classmates and family members at that delicate age, not having their lives dictated by a do-it-all robot. Sure, kids can be shy and not so outgoing at that age. It's more imperative that they learn skills they need to talk, interact with, at or in work surroundings, and go to school with people of all walks of life, creeds, and religions in the future.
The voice acting work from Jack Dylan Grazer, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Olivia Colman, and many others are the first-rate. The animation is a bit nondescript, though. It doesn't really stand out like Pixar or even Illumination does. Or even earlier this year, The Mitchells vs the Machines was a more vibrant beautiful style. As a whole, it wasn't bad, just unmemorable. The story and where the thought process involving that is what failed this film in the end.
Animation movies involving robots are nothing new. It's how the robot in question is used in this particular film. Big Hero 6 and other films have used them much better. Ron's Gone Wrong gets the whole idea of a robot relationship with a human so very wrong. I think people forget a robot should be like a dog or family pet. It should interact with the family member but not overtake the family dynamic. And obviously, the whole socially economic aspect of this is all wrong as well. This is not a good film based on its idea of what it's trying to say and how it goes about it. In the end, kids should just go and talk to other kids and their family members and not rely on technology to be their friend and confidant.
Ron's Gone Wrong hits theaters on October 22.