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Archive for June 4, 2022

Robs Gone Wrong

I remember seeing the trailers for Ron’s gone wrong on television. It was coming out right around the time when we were getting a bunch of these sort of cute iMac looking robots… I trend that had been kicked off in part by Wall-E. It looked interesting enough but I didn’t really know much about it and we just never got around to seeing it. Maddie scheduled it this week with her movie box of boom and off we went.

It’s the very near future where the new hot gadget is B-Bots… Basically, imagine if your iPhone was a robot. A capsule shaped android that was about 2 1/2 to 3 feet tall, with all the social media functions that your phone has. Cameras, filters, backgrounds and skins and interactivity. Every kid had one,  really the logical extrapolation of where the smart phone would eventually go.

The only kid who doesn’t have one is Barney… An outcast in middle school who sits alone at lunch and during recess. Well, his father gets him a B-Bot for his birthday… But it’s one that… Let’s just say it fell off a truck. They paid a guy in the back alley and this one is slightly scuffed and damaged. It also lacks the core code which means instead of merely “installing friendship“ where it loads up data about the owner, this little bot has to learn about friendship the hard way. Barney has to teach him.

It’s actually a genuinely good premise, and Ron is an amazing character in itself. The quirkiness and awkward missteps of the robot just make him incredibly charming. I don’t think I’ve related to a character this much since Stitch. We get a variety of shenanigans; Ron the B-Bot making friend requests by slapping stickers on people, and asking them if they want to come back to his “secret friendship shed”. There’s power tools and goat abuse, as well as great one liners and some very touching moments. They do a good job of making you sympathize with all the characters. One moment I am laughing at the mean girl getting some of the most just desserts one can imagine… And then the next I’m actually feeling kind of sorry for her. Barney is consistently a sympathetic character and you genuinely get fond of the bots themselves as well. There’s never any real talk about sentience… And that’s probably for the best. It would get us well into the weeds if we were to have a discussion about whether or not The robots were actually alive.

I have to admit I’ve got a bit of a problem with the ending. The way to make everything better and save everybody from the evil corporation ends up being Ron plugs himself into the cloud, and uploads his new programming… The one that they’ve basically accumulated as he naturally developed a friendship with Barney, and distributes this programming through an update to all the B-Bots connected to the net. I don’t like this. I pointed this out to Maddie and she raised An eyebrow for a moment and then nodded. “Yeah, because maybe some of these people like their box the way that they are.”

That’s the thing I’d love it if this would’ve been an optional update, but imposing this philosophy on everyone because you think it’s the right thing to do… That really goes against my own philosophies of personal liberty. I’m not a fan with Microsoft does it to their computers, I’m definitely not a fan when the American government does it to their citizens,

Or perhaps I’m overthinking this.

In any event, this was an incredibly pleasant surprise. The film is really good and had Maddie and me laughing uproariously throughout the entire thing. I actually wish I’d discovered it sooner – it’s one of the est things to come out of Disney (fox) in  a very long time and comes with my highest recommendations.