Given the prominent presence of his adorable round-and-white robot companion, the new animated film Ron was wrong may look like a new take on disney Great hero 6, where young inventor Hiro Hamada deals with his grief with the help of health care companion Baymax, and together they save the world. But while the robots in the two films look physically alike, Ron was wrong actually shares more narrative DNA with the 1999s The iron giant. Both focus on young boys making unlikely friends with strange robots, as larger forces seek to root out anomalies, based on fear of the unknown.
Directors Sarah Smith (Arthur christmas), Jean-Philippe Vine, and Octavio E. Rodriguez, Ron was wrong, the first animated film from British studio Locksmith Animation, gives the timeless boy-meets-robot model a modern twist. While the film drags on in the final leg and doesn’t bring as many nuance to its tech and social media themes as it could, the crux of the story – the friendship between the goofy Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer ) and the faulty robot Ron (Zach Galifianakis) – is sincere and humorous.
[Ed. note: This review contains some minor setup spoilers for Ron’s Gone Wrong.]
Ron was wrong follows Barney, a college boy who has trouble making friends. Everyone he knows has a B-Bot, a companion robot designed to algorithmically optimize friendships. This makes it virtually impossible for children without robots by their side to make friends, as B-Bots are supposed to design these interactions. Barney is the only kid in his school without one of the robots, at least until his hapless dad surprises him with one for his birthday. Unfortunately, because Barney’s dad bought the bot from a delivery guy in the back of a tech store, the B-Bot is flawed and doesn’t have the quintessential B-Bot friendship algorithm, as well. than many expected security features. As Barney and Ron build their friendship, Ron’s chaotic demeanor catches the attention of executives at ubiquitous tech company Bubble, especially COO Andrew Morris (Rob Delaney), who isn’t exactly satisfied. of an old bot that ruins the company’s image and alienates its shareholders.
From the moment Ron turns on he’s hilarious. It repeatedly fails to connect to the internet and can only download information under the letter A, so by default it calls Barney “Absalom”. After a day at school, Barney returns to find Ron has explored every inch of his room – and burned his underwear, because Barney asked Ron to learn all about him so they can be the best. friends, and of course that includes learning the heat resistance of Barney’s underwear. Smith and co-writer Peter Baynham (Borat) craft jokes that range from some pretty funny slapstick to specific tech blunders, and it’s insanely fun.
Ron was wrong is trying to make a meaningful connection in the digital age, but unlike this year the Mitchells against the machines, the movie doesn’t really present a nuanced take on the tech beyond making it clear that relying on it can hamper real-life connections. However, the friendship between Barney and Ron blossoms beautifully, especially with Ron trying to understand the human concept of friendship and creating his own algorithm based on Barney’s instructions. Barney also has a thing or two to learn about what it means to be a friend, with an emphasis on the topic of relationships. Friendship isn’t as simple as an equation, and the movie does a great job of showing just how much work it takes to make any connection. Eventually, Barney and Ron’s connection inspires some of Barney’s classmates to step outside of their algorithm-generated comfort zones.
The same way as The iron giant questions the American paranoia of the Cold War of the 1950s, Ron was wrong addresses the primordial influence of tech moguls in the 2020s, as Andrew frantically tries to apprehend the faulty robot. Nothing is more important to him than his shareholders, and he is willing to sacrifice user privacy and even Barney’s life to satisfy his investors. While Ron Pursued is an important part of the film – especially when it comes to who is helping him and how – it also adds a heist streak towards the end of the film that feels extended. But Barney and Ron, risking everything to protect themselves, highlight how far their friendship has come, and they feel like a modern version of Hogarth and the Iron Giant, with an anxious billionaire tech mogul in place of the US military panicking over possible foreign weapons.
Ron was wrong is full of laughs and a sweet message about friendship being a two way street. Across this theme is the question of what makes technology dangerous. While it might seem a bit one-sided at times, it nonetheless represents a compelling villain who performs overwhelming, close-to-home actions – like spying on B-Bot users through bot cameras – in his pursuit of Ron. Ron was wrong might be a movie about the dangers of social media, but it works best as a movie about the recognition that friendship takes work, whether connection flourishes through a high-tech device or the old-fashioned way, in person.
Ron was wrong hits theaters October 22.