What happens when you let Baymax and the Mitchells meet? Possibly something like RON GOES WRONG! Is the story of an outsider who has a defective, smartphone-tastic robot as a friend convincing? We reveal this in our review.
OT: Ron Gone Wrong (USA/UK/CAN 2021)
The plot sumary
Barney is an outsider – and is therefore nervous about the big break. She shows his classmates, day after school day, How he is lonely. His teacher’s pity comments and the school bullies’ nasty actions make everything worse. That’s why Barney wants nothing more than a B-Bot – the latest achievement from a tech giant. The little robots are, so to speak, smartphones on two legs that not only act as their owner’s best friend, but also use their algorithms to look for other friends. But Barney’s family doesn’t want to spend huge amounts of money on such bells and whistles – until one day they feel guilty and get him a B-stock B-Bot. His defective program brings enormous chaos into Barney’s life…
The title character in Disney’s animated Marvel adaptation “Baymax” is a white, round, friendly health-assistant robot who not only seems courteous, but also somewhat naive and slow-witted. But the fact that he also recognizes that not only physical ailments, but also emotional and psychological complaints deserve detailed treatment, makes him a technological friend who works wonders for the human hero of the film. In “Ron Goes Wrong,” a chubby, white robot wanders around and helps the human protagonist gain more self-esteem, joy and friends. But Ron is not a robot created for health purposes, but in his film universe a combination of smartphone and high-end toy: B-Bots connect children and teenagers to the Internet, enable chats, streams, gaming and also analyze the interests of their owners to select suitable skins and send friend requests to children with similar interests. In the spirit of the inventor, this is intended to make it easier to find friends – and as Generation Social Media knows, it is actually attractive to be able to specifically search for people to talk to who are enthusiastic about the same things.
Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer) and his B-Bot Ron (Zach Galafianakis) first have to find each other…
However, as Generation Social Media can confirm: Algorithms can be damn tricky. For example, by forcing a very limited view of the world on you and fueling cyberbullying. In addition, friendships not only require similarities, but also a certain amount of differences – this is the only way to enrich each other’s wealth of experience. A few months ago, the Sony animated film “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” cleverly, funny, bitingly and lovingly dealt with how modern technology can simultaneously build bridges between people and tear them down. And in its best moments, “Ron Goes Wrong” does this too, with a broken robot reminiscent of Baymax rather than a Mitchell robocalypse. Above all, Barney’s initial frustration that Ron doesn’t literally read all of his interests, wishes and opinions from his lips, and Barney and Ron’s gradual process of becoming friends through shared experiences, serves as a charming and critical commentary on filtered experiences. In addition, cyberbullying and internet pranks carried out in the schoolyard get a few well-placed swipes, while the criticism of large technology companies that screen their customers comes across as a bit of a joke, albeit entertaining. However, one cannot help but get the impression that “Ron Goes Wrong” had even greater ambitions in an earlier conception phase and that the filmmakers ultimately curbed them.
“Above all, Barney’s initial frustration that Ron doesn’t literally read all of his interests, wishes and opinions from his lips, and Barney and Ron’s gradual process of becoming friends through shared experiences, serves as a charming and critical commentary on filtered experiences.”
Because not only does the last third of the film seem dramaturgically tacked on to the rest of the film (including completely new challenges for the heroes and the abandonment of intentions that had been expressed by two supporting characters shortly before), the casually expressed but balanced media criticism (“Modern technologies can… Helping to make friends, but also being badly abused) suddenly becomes simplified. That the children in the film world of “Ron Goes Wrong” turn first and foremost to their B-Bot in all situations? Not a big deal, as long as they act a little more erratically than at the start of the film! The fact that this is sold as a happy ending clouds the overall impression of “Ron Goes Wrong”, but its great strength shines more intensely than this weakness: the feature film debut of the British animation studio Locksmith Animation (which no longer has a distribution deal with 20th Century Studios for future films , but with Warner Bros.) thrives on the odd, happy dynamic between Barney and the defective Ron. Originally by chaos comedian Zach Galifianakis (“Hangover”) Speaking, Ron is a constantly cheerful, argument-seeking, slow-witted troublemaker who sings Eastern European hits, whose optimism creates all sorts of situational comedy – because Ron always responds to playground fights, big conspiracies and unrest in Grandma’s kitchen with the same attitude, which creates all kinds of comedic friction.
…but little by little the two become one heart and one soul.
The shy Barney, on the other hand, who has imagined absurd ideas of friendship but, unlike his more spoiled classmates, is willing to acclimatize quickly, meets Ron’s chaos with a childlike, unstable balance of reason, emotional exuberance, frustration and amusement. This is told with a lot of heart and even more humor by director Jean-Philippe Vine, director/author Sarah Smith and author Peer Baynham, so that you quickly take this friendship to your heart and cheer and laugh along with the unusual duo. The somewhat generic production design and the character animation, which is somewhat stiff compared to the top dogs Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks Animation and Illumination Entertainment, but is still clearly cinematic, always sets limits for the film world and its characters. But Vine and Smith know how to set important accents within the possibilities given to them – be it the self-absorbed smile of a young lifestyle streamer, the light in Barney’s eyes when he can’t believe Ron’s new idea and is still very excited about it is pleased, or just the whirling around of the title hero.
“The somewhat generic production design and the character animation, which is somewhat stiff compared to the top dogs Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks Animation and Illumination Entertainment, but is still clearly cinematic, always sets limits for the film world and its characters.”
Conclusion: “Ron Goes Wrong” is a solid debut for a new animation company: the media criticism is a bit short-winded and the look is a bit stiff, but this story of a chaos friendship is told with heart and a lot of humor.
“Ron is going wrong” can be seen in USA cinemas from October 28, 2021.