Review by Adam Donato
Football, soccer, and basketball are the most popular sports in the country and it’s not even close. Wrestling isn’t unpopular like baseball or golf, both sports that require immense skill, but are widely considered boring. Wrestling is down in that NASCAR range of low brow and niche sports to watch. The WWE is desperate to stay relevant. To do that, it’s important to appeal to younger demographics to spark a new generation of fans. Hence Rumble, an animated movie about an upstart girl who drives a goofy monster to the top of wrestling in order to save her town’s stadium.
This movie almost came out in theaters. The first trailer showed all the way back in February of 2020 before the Sonic the Hedgehog movie. A lot has happened since then. The least important of all things is the launch of Paramount’s new streaming service. Sign up now to watch hit films like The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run, Infinite, and PAW Patrol: The Movie. At least nothing big comes out this week to compete with Rumble…
Target audience is an important thing to consider when talking about a movie like this. Yes, it’s nice to have animated family films that go out of their way to make a quality film that appeals to adults and children alike. Sadly, this is not one of those movies. The only type of adult that would enjoy a movie like this would be like the superfan character in this movie who tattoos Tentacular’s entire life story on his body. In his defense, he looks like he’s having a great time. That being said, remember being a child and the criteria for a movie being good was having some kind of cool monster and be filled with jokes. They don’t have to be good jokes, attempts will do.
The story is like Rocky for babies. Underdogs rising up together. The two main characters don’t like each other at the start, but overtime form a bond that leads them to success. The bad guy inevitably loses due to his obnoxious hubris. The main monster finds his own way to succeed despite not fitting the mold of a traditional wrestler. All of this happens, but nothing is more cliche than when the movie closes out with a dance party.
The one genuinely great thing about this movie is the inspired choice of casting Stephen A. Smith as one of the wrestling media heads. Smith is a beloved member of sports media and is known for his passionate delivery and his absolute disdain for his favorite basketball team, the New York Knicks. Having his personality in this movie is the most entertaining aspect. His character is constantly upset about everything going on in the movie, much like the rest of the audience. Despite this praise, sports fans are sure to urge Smith to “stay off the weeeeeeeed” and not be in terrible movies like this. Enjoy that pay check, king.
It would be interesting to hear how wrestling fans feel about this movie. A large aspect of the movie is how passionate the main monster is about dance. He incorporates this into his wrestling to the dismay of public opinion. His success makes sense because dancing has applicable techniques when it comes to wrestling like footwork and balance. Also, this movie does not shy away from the concept of these fights being fixed. Dancing requires choreography especially when dancing with a partner. It gives off the vibe that all wrestling is fake. If this is true and people are just into it for the cheesy storylines and the cool action. When it comes to this movie, the action is lackluster and the story is moldy cheese.
The voice cast outside of Smith is uninspired. Will Arnett is so on the nose typecast. It’s just a less funny PG version of Bojack Horseman. The writing isn’t doing him any favors either. Geraldine Viswanathan does a fine job, but her character is so unlikable. She’s always running around with no regard for other people. Ben Schwartz plays Ben Schwartz in everything he is in besides Sonic. He’s always fast talking and not caring about anything besides his social media presence. Terry Crews plays Tentacular, who is the star monster of Stoker before moving to a more opportune location. There’s even a direct jab at LeBron James thrown in there. This is so frustrating as it casts the players who leave their organizations as villains. It’s frustrating because in real life it’s the organizations who are usually the villain. Funny how a movie that feels like a product and made by an organization portrays the player as the antagonist and the organization is what needs to be saved. The kids won’t notice, but it’s sports propaganda.
Rumble is bad. It’s a children's movie for children and children alone. It has slightly more integrity than The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run, but is nowhere near as good as PAW Patrol: The Movie, which is made for babies. Wrestling fans might enjoy this movie, but that’s really not saying much at all. It’s uninspired and cliche. Go watch Fighting with My Family instead.
Rumble is now streaming on Paramount+.