One of the things that I have noticed with family films over the years is that many of them these days tend to want to make a comment on the world around them and seem to forget that they should also have an element of fun to them as well. One film that certainly hasn’t forgotten about that important balance is brand new animation Ron’s Gone Wrong.
Not only is the film a fun affair for the whole family but it contains a very important life lesson for kids – a lesson that looks at how social media isn’t everything in life and that getting out and making friends is much more important than the amount of likes you got on the last video that you just posted.
The film centres around Barney (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer – Shazam!) a young boy who over the years has found himself alienated from the people that once called him friends at school. While Barney has remained himself his friends have all changed – Savannah (Kylie Cantrall – Just Roll With It) has become a social media star who has very little interest in anything else other than being popular while his other friends are now more interested in things like gaming etc.
Things get even worse for Barney when the world undergoes a technological revolution thanks to a young man called Marc (Justice Smith – Paper Towns) who creates a device called a B-Bot, technically it is a robot that he hopes will help people find friends. Of course, the owner of the company that makes the B-Bots, Andrew Morris (Rob Delaney – Deadpool 2), has very different ideas.
Now everybody has a B-Bot except for Barney, which alienates him from everybody else even more. Despite not having very much money Barney’s father, Graham (Ed Helms – The Hangover), and grandmother, Donka (Olivia Colman – The Lobster), manage to buy him a damaged B-Bot for his birthday. But while everybody else’s B-Bot works perfectly Barney’s, named Ron (Zach Galifianakis – Due Date) does what he likes which leads to good and bad adventures.
I think what I enjoyed about Ron’s Gone Wrong so much is the fact that the film just has so much heart. The screenplay, written by Peter Baynham (Borat) and Sarah Smith (Arthur Christmas), depicts Barney as a kind of Charlie Bucket character – a loner that would do anything for his family no matter how strange they are. It then introduces a boy-meets-dog like storyline that ends up being he and his robot versus the world.
The journey that the writers, along with co-directors Smith, Jean-Phillippe Vine (first-time director) and Octavio E. Rodriguez (The Epic Tale of Captain Underpants), take the audience on is nothing short of magical. For me it provided me with the same satisfaction that I got from Onwards as the story introduced me to a boy’s world that allowed me to feel his pain, happiness and moments of true confession.
What makes this film even strong is the fact that it has a strong social message that enhances the film’s central plot rather than tripping it up. Ron’s Gone Wrong has a powerful message about social media and children with technology. It depicts what can happen in a child’s life if they develop an obsession with wanting to win at gaming and even delves into the depression that can occur when a youngster becomes obsessed with wanting online popularity. The film also takes a fair swipe at those that run many of the technology-based companies around us while also showing what happens to the people that cannot afford to buy many of the things that make them ‘cool.’
Even though the film does contain so many important messages it never forgets the fact that it needs to be fun for families. There are some amazingly funny scenes throughout the film from Ron’s treatment of bullies through to hilarious chases throughout the town. Of course, it almost goes without saying that Ron the robot steals many of the comical moments throughout the film – but what else would you expect from a character that is voiced by the great Zach Galifianakis.
Ron’s Gone Wrong is a beautiful film. It takes the audience on a beautiful journey of self-discovery while keeping the laughs coming throughout the film. I just know that this is an amazing film that I am going to visit regularly.