20th Century Studios’ ‘Murder On The Nile’ Reboot Is A Reboot That Is Actually Worth Watching…If Only Occasionally

Courtesy: 20th Century Studios

Crime sells, and it sells a lot. From television to books to movies, it sells. As much as humans might want to deny their fascination with crime, it sells. That is why there are so many TV shows that center solely on crime. That is why newspapers and news agencies thrive on the topic. It brings those eyeballs, and with them, sales. That is why some of the most well-known novels in literary history center on crime. One of the great names in literary crime is the late great author Agatha Christie. Her novels about Hercule Poirot and the crimes that he solved are known the world around. They have been read by countless audiences, and the TV series that rose from the books has been seen by just as many viewers. The popularity of Christie’s works is such that they have also led to multiple big screen adaptations of those books, the most recent being this year’s take of her novel, Death on the Nile. Released theatrically this year through 20th Century Studios, it came 44 years after the then most recent adaptation, which was released in 1978. Now Tuesday, it will come home on DVD and Blu-ray, less than two months after its Feb. 11 domestic theatrical premiere.

The second of 20th Century Studios’ adaptations from Christie’s novels following the 2017 release of Murder on the Orient Express (which was also a reboot of a previous theatrical rendition), this presentation is not terrible nor is it great. It is worth watching at least once. The studio’s new updated take of Murder on the Nile is worth watching at least once. That is due in large part to the story, which will be discussed shortly. While the story makes for its own engagement and entertainment, the pacing thereof is slightly problematic. It is not enough to doom the movie, but is still important to note. It will be discussed a little later. The movie’s general presentation works with the story to make for more appeal, and will also be addressed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Death on the Nile. All things considered, they make this latest update on the story worth watching occasionally.

20th Century Studios’ reboot of Death on the Nile is an interesting update on the late great author’s timeless crime thriller novel. Its appeal comes primarily through its story. The story is simple. It features Poirot on a boat trip down the Nile River with a group of well-to-do individuals as part of a couple’s honeymoon. Along the way, the newlywed wife, Linnet Ridgeway (Gal Gadot — Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984, Red Notice) is gunned down as she sleeps one night during the river cruise. Linnet’s new husband, Simon (Armie Hammer — The Lone Ranger, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Social Network) is heartbroken, and everyone on board is a suspect. Poirot (played here once again by Kenneth Branagh — Murder on the Orient Express, Henry V, Hamlet) interviews each suspect on board, including his own friend, Bouc (played once again by Tom Bateman — Jekyll & Hyde, Murder on the Orient Express, Snatched). AS the interviews take place and everyone suspects everyone else, two other murders happen, and they are connected directly to that of Linnet. The final reveal will not be covered here out of respect for those who have yet to watch the movie, but in hindsight, it comes as no surprise, considering how so many real life crime stories unfold in shows, such as Dateline and 48 Hours. This critic will at least admit that the one person thought to be the offender turned out to not be that person, but rather a red herring. Now given, being another adaptation of Christie’s original story, there are variations, which is somewhat disconcerting. At the same time though, the story plays out relatively well and will keep viewers engaged and entertained.

While the story plays out so well, there is still a concern about its pacing. The story wastes little time introducing the main characters. However, from there, the story takes its time building up the full plot. Specifically, it spends the first hour of its two hours building the plot. That buildup drags more than once, which will lead some audiences to want to fast forward plenty of times. The second act, which takes place aboard the boat, drags at multiple points, too as Poirot interviews each suspect. What keeps things moving is the surprise murders that happen in connection with that of Linnet. If not for those moments though, the movie would have otherwise just plodded along, so to that end, it’s more proof of the attraction that humans have to crime. Even in the final act as Poirot begins to unfold everything, the remaining group together in one room, there seems to be a bit more exposition than is really needed. Thankfully it is not so much that it bogs down the action too much. Keeping all of this in mind, the story’s pacing does pose some problems for the movie’s overall presentation. Thankfully though, that issue is not so concerning that it makes the movie a total failure.

Keeping in mind that the pacing, while problematic is not overly so, there is at least one more positive to this reboot’s presentation. That positive is the movie’s general presentation. It is clear throughout the movie’s two hour six minute run time (which is relatively short considering how most movies average two and a half hours nowadays if not longer) that lots of sound stages and computer generated effects are used. At times that blend of real sets and CG is a little bit cheesy, but there is honestly something appealing about it, especially in an age when so many movies rely almost entirely on computer generated graphics and green screens. It is a bit of a throwback to movie making from a bygone era. The costumes are also nice throwbacks, including Branagh’s clearly fake mustache. Speaking of Branagh, his acting is part of that general presentation. It leads the way once again among a cast whose work is otherwise just part of the whole. Also of note here is that while there is some blood used at points, its use is so minimal. In an age when so many crime stories overly use blood and gore, this minimalist approach is just as welcome to the general presentation as anything else. It is such a nice change of pace. Keeping everything noted here in mind, the whole of the general presentation makes for its own share of engagement and entertainment. When that engagement and entertainment is considered along with the overall positive of the movie’s story, the whole makes this reboot of Death on The Nile worth watching at least occasionally.

20th Century Studios’ new update of Agatha Christie’s crime novel, Death on the Nile is an intriguing presentation. It is not great nor is it terrible. Its story, which is relatively easy to follow makes for most of the reason for giving it a chance. It is a crime story that while fiction, is mirrored in real life by just as many true stories very similar in fashion, ironically enough. The story’s pacing is somewhat problematic because it drags at points throughout the story. The general presentation works with the story to make for more engagement and entertainment. When the two items are considered together, they make for reason enough to give the movie some appeal and in turn worth watching at least occasionally. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of this movie’s presentation. All things considered, they make this reboot of Murder on the Nile worth watching at least occasionally.

Murder on the Nile is scheduled for release Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on this and other titles from 20th Century Studios is available at:

Websitehttps://www.20thcenturystudios.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/20thCenturyStudios

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

20th Century Studios’ ‘West Side Story’ Reboot Is More Proof Hollywood Needs More Original Ideas

Courtesy: 20th Century Studios

It goes without saying that William Shakespeare is among the most influential writers and playwrights in history.  From “12th Night” to “The Taming of the Shrew” to Macbeth” and “even Romeo and Juliet” and so much more, Shakespeare’s works have been done and redone more times than anyone can count on two hands.  20th Century Studios will release a reboot of one of the most well-known re-imaginings of “Romeo and Juliet” on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday in its recent reboot of the classic 1961 musical, West Side Story.  Originally having debuted in theaters in 2021, this latest reboot is a mixed bag presentation.  The reboot’s very presentation makes that clear.  It is both positive and negative.  The musical numbers included in the story are part of that general presentation and are positive in their own right.  They will be discussed a little later.  The cast’s work rounds out the most important of the reboot’s elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this latest take of West Side Story worth watching at least once.

20th Century Studios’ reboot of West Side Story, which is itself a re-imagining of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” is an interesting presentation among the seemingly never-ending sea of prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on actual events.  It is interesting in large part because of its general presentation.  Unlike so many reboots of other movies out there, the general presentation here actually takes audiences back in time.  This story is set in 1957, and the sets and costumes work hard to make sure that the time period is reflected.  It would have been so easy for the movie’s creative heads to just allow the movie to be another 21st century update, like so many reboots out there today, but they didn’t go that route.  To that end, it is somewhat refreshing to see that they took that proverbial road less traveled. What’s more, the movie in this presentation is a near shot for shot copy of the 1961 big screen classic, so in other words, the general presentation here does not necessarily break any new ground.  It is admirable that the movie’s creative heads would go to such lengths to bring the 20th century into the 21st and pay such tribute to its source material.

At the same time that the reboot’s creative heads clearly wanted to honor the movie’s source material and its fans, that might actually not be such a good thing, either.  If the 1961 movie could be updated without losing but so much of the original, then it leaves one wondering if there was any need to even do this, just for the sake of getting a new, younger generation of audiences interested in the story.  The look of this new update does work to throw back to that of the original movie, but it tries too hard, to be honest.  It all looks so spit shined what with the updated camera technology.  Speaking of that tech, there are so many lens flares thrown in throughout the presentation that audiences will think they are watching a movie helmed by JJ Abrams, not Steven Spielberg.  Audiences who are familiar with Abrams’ works will immediately understand that reference.  It really serves to offset the positive in the effort to take audiences back to the original 1961 movie and further shows the needlessness of reboots.

While the general presentation of West Side Story is a bit of a mixed bag, the movie is not all bad.  The musical numbers from the 1961 movie and its stage adaptations are all here, too.  They come complete with the dance numbers used in those presentations, too.  It continues to show the efforts of those behind the cameras to fully pay homage to the story’s source material and to its fans.  The look, feel, and sound of those musical numbers does just as much to keep audiences engaged and entertained as the story.  The playful back and forth of ‘I Want To Live In America,’ which points out the two contrasting views of the Puerto Ricans is made even more engaging what with the costumes and sets.  The contrast of the happiness and tension between the two sides in ‘Tonight’ makes for its own interest as Maria is so happy while the gang members sing about their determination about the big fight that is going to happen.  On yet another note, Rita Moreno’s mournful number near the story’s finale is just as moving as she recalls the past and examines the state of the city and nation at that point.  These and all of the movie’s musical numbers go a long way toward making the latest reboot of West Side Story worth watching.  When they are considered along with the cast’s work, those two elements and the general presentation all combine to make for at least some reason to give this reboot a chance.

Ansel Egort (Insurgent, Divergent, The Fault In Our Stars) leads the way as Tony in this latest take of West Side Story.  He is to be applauded for the control that he exhibits throughout the movie.  It would have been so easy for him to ham it up in a moment such as the balcony scene lifted from “Romeo and Juliet.”  He instead did quite well in making Tony’s infatuation with Maria believable.  This even though he clearly is not a teenager and neither is his co-star, Rachel Zegler (Shazam), who plays Maria this time out.  Mike Faist (Wildling, The Atlantic City Story) deserves his own share of applause of Tony’s friend, Riff as his more combative mindset offsets that of Tony’s more peaceful thought patter.  It makes Tony’s fate all the more tragic in the movie’s final scene.  That is not a spoiler, either, considering how well known West Side Story is its own source material are.  Faist’s performance as Riff makes it easy for audiences to love him and at the same time feel so sorry for him for having his mindset.  Much the same can be said of the work of his counterpart, David Alvarez (American Rust, The Stamp Collector, Child’s Play), as he portrays Bernardo.  He is just as set on combat as Riff, and it shows.  He and Faist are both fully believable in their roles, their refusal to work toward peace.  Sadly, so many people in today’s society are still so much like them, so kudos are in order for them in getting audiences to stop for a moment and think about that.  Between these performances and so many others presented throughout the movie, the overall work of the cast proves to be its own positive that makes the movie worth watching.  When it is considered along with their performances of the musical numbers of the positive side of the general presentation, the whole makes this movie a reboot that is worth seeing at least once.

20th Century Studios’ new reboot of West Side Story is an interesting presentation from the Disney-owned studio.  Its interest comes in large part through its general presentation.  The general presentation does not necessarily break any new ground in comparison to the 1961 cinematic presentation.  That is both good and bad.  The musical numbers add their own interest to the new presentation.  That is because as with the general presentation, they also lift from the original, and the performances thereof are fully engaging and entertaining.  The cast’s work in those moments and throughout the movie rounds out the most important of the movie’s elements.  That is because their work is believable, and makes the viewing experience all the more immersive.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of West Side Story.  All things considered, they make this reboot worth watching at least once.

West Side Story is scheduled for release Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray.  More information on this and other titles from 20th Century Studios is available at:

Website: https://www.20thcenturystudios.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/20thCenturyStudios

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Families Have Lots Of Viewing Options As They Spend The Holidays Together

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/PBS Kids

It’s hard to believe, but there is officially a little more than a week left in the almost old year. For most of the country, it means winter break is here and kids are out of school, getting excited over Christmas and relaxing. That means lots of parents out there are struggling to find ways to entertain their kids and maybe also keep their brains growing at the same time. Phil’s Picks’ final “best of” list for this year will hopefully help with those efforts.

The last of this year’s “best of” lists focuses on the year’s top new single-disc family friendly DVDs and Blu-rays. It features new releases for families from PBS, Shout! Factory, and Nickelodeon, as well as Turner Broadcasting/Cartoon Network, and even 20th Century Studios. It runs the gamut from the educational to the entertaining, too.

Without any further ado, here is the last of Phil’s Picks’ “best of” lists for 2021, this year’s Top 10 New Family DVDs/BDs.

PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVDs/BDs

  1. Hero Elementary: Sparks’ Crew Animal Rescue
  2. Wild Kratts: Cats and Dogs
  3. Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island
  4. Molly of Denali: Molly & The Great One
  5. Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Curse of the Shadows
  6. Victor & Valentino: Folk Art Foes
  7. Ron’s Gone Wrong
  8. Jungle Cruise
  9. Paw Patrol: The Movie
  10. PBS Kids Christmas Collection
  11. Thomas & Friends All Engines Go!: Time For Teamwork
  12. Sesame Street: Things Elmo Likes
  13. Sesame Street: Wonderful World of Friends
  14. Baby Shark’s Big Show!
  15. PBS Kids 15 Girl Power Adventures

That’s it for this year, folks. Again though, there are lots of new titles already announced and scheduled for 2022, so Phil’s Picks is already looking forward to next year for all the new family DVDs and BDs and so much other content. Stay tuned!

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’ Proves Just As Successful In Its Home Release As In Its Brief Theatrical Run

Courtesy: 20th Century Studios/Disney

Well, that sure didn’t take long.  Less than two months after making its theatrical debut, 20th Century Studios’ CG statement flicks Ron’s Gone Wrong made its way to digital and physical home release early this month (Dec. 7 to be exact).  The movie is no better or worse in its new home release than in its brief theatrical run, which according to Box Office Mojo, grossed more than $60 million worldwide during that time.  Attempts to find the movie’s production budget for comparison were unsuccessful.  For those who have yet to see the movie, its story is reason enough for audiences to give it a chance.  It will be discussed shortly.  While the movie’s story is unquestionably positive, the bonus content that comes with the movie’s home release is just as much a negative that audiences cannot ignore.  It will be discussed a little later.  The story’s pacing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Ron’s Gone Wrong in its recent home release.  All things considered, they make the movie one of the best of this year’s new family DVDs/BDs even with its one primary concern.

20th Century Studios’ recent home release of its family friendly flick, Ron’s Gone Wrong, is a mostly successful offering.  The movie’s success comes in large part through its story.  The story is a two-part presentation that will appeal to younger and older viewers alike.  One half of the story is a clear indictment of big tech, its impact on young people’s mental health, and the unscrupulous measures that big tech will take to exploit those noted users.  The story’s other half centers on the all-too-important message of the importance of friendship and its related topics.  The two halves weave together seamlessly throughout the movie, and together with the pacing (which again, will be discussed a little later) make the story overall fully engaging and entertaining.  The overarching discussion on the invasive nature of social media and its negative impact on young people’s mental health is timeless.  This will remain a concern until such time as young people can pull themselves away from social media and its addictive clutches.  To that end, the story likely will not earn an Oscar®, but will remain timely, making it relatable for generations of audiences.  The movie’s writers clearly went after Apple, Facebook, and so much other big tech and social media in delivering this message.  The companies are not named, but rather spoofed so to speak, through the use of the company, “Bubble” and its antagonistic boss, Andrew.  Andrew is clearly a lifting of Steve Jobs while Marc Weidell is clearly an allusion to Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg.

The connected story about friendship ties directly into the indictment of big tech and social media as lead character Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer – ItLucaShazam) finds himself the only student in his middle school – Nonsuch Middle School – without a so-called B*Bot.  The B*bot, is a digital friend that knows everything about its user, and uses that information to help young people find new friends.  Marc (Justice Smith – Paper TownsThe Get DownJurassic World – Fallen Kingdom) even called the tech the “perfect friend” right in the story’s opening scene.  That immediate message lets people know that one of the key messages in this story is that friends are anything but perfect, but rather perfect in being imperfect.  Barney learns that invaluable lesson when his dad, Graham (Ed Helms – The OfficeVacationThe Hangover) gets Barney his own B-bot (albeit illegally).  In learning its serial number, Barney shortens the bot’s name to just Ron.  Ron is voiced here by Zach Galifianakis (Due DateThe HangoverThe Lego Batman Movie).  His work here is some of his best, and that is actually saying something considering the dumbed down performances that he has presented in the noted movies and others.  Getting back on the subject at hand, Barney and Ron eventually develop a real friendship because Ron is not like all of the other B-bots out there.  What develops will immediately ring a bell with those familiar with the 1986 movie, Short Circuit and its sequel, which came only two years later.  That buddy comedy centered on a robot that developed sentience and only wanted to protect and befriend people.  The good thing here is that this story element does not attempt to just simply rip off said movies, even despite the clear comparison.  What audiences eventually get here is that we should not let tech dominate our lives to the point that we are relying on it to make decisions for us.  We should not rely on it so much that it is doing everything for us, because we know better than technology who we are and what and who we like.  So yes, between this overarching message and that of the almost criminal nature of big tech, the overall story here will remain relevant for years to come.  It also boasts its own share of heart along the way, too.  It makes the story reason enough for audiences to give this movie a chance.

While the story does so much to make Ron’s Gone Wrong entertaining, the bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release detracts somewhat from the presentation.  That is because of how little content there is and the content itself.  The bonus content, which is featured only in the movie’s BD/DVD/Digital combo pack and 4K UHD/BD/Digital combo pack (no, it is not featured in the DVD platform) comes in the form of a brief sit-down with Galifianakis and Grazer, and a separate “making of” featurette.  The duo’s interview, which runs maybe about five minutes at most, just finds the pair sharing their thoughts on technology and how their generations vary in their views on technology and its role in society.  The slightly more lengthy “making of” featurette simply takes audiences behind the scenes of the movie’s creation.  Viewers learn of the motivation for the story’s creation from its writing team, as well as about how the cast members interacted as they recorded their lines.  It is in itself really a minimalist presentation that neither adds to or detracts from the movie’s presentation.  So audiences who maybe don’t own a Blu-ray player or one of those overly expensive 4K UHD TVs and players will not be missing out on anything without the bonus content on DVD.  For everyone else, the content is worth watching maybe once, but it really does not do anything either way for the presentation.  Keeping that in mind, the movie still stands strongly enough on the merits of its two-part story alone.  Staying on that note, the movie’s pacing is another positive that is worth noting.

The run time for Ron’s Gone Wrong is approximately one hour, 47 minutes.  That is actually a long run time for a family friendly flick.  Thankfully even being as long as the story is and with so much going on, the pacing remains solid.  This is the case even in the story’s final act in which it seems like the writers – Peter Baymham and Sarah Smith – seem to have had trouble deciding how to end the story.  The action and overall content is solid enough that the story keeps moving at a relatively solid pace throughout.  The result is that the pacing ensures the engagement and entertainment of younger viewers just as much as their older counterparts.  It makes the movie’s overall presentation that much more surprising in its appeal.  When this is considered along with the work of the movie’s cast, which is just as deserving of applause as the story’s pacing and the story itself, the whole makes the movie a mostly successful offering even in its home release.

20th Century Studios’ Ron’s Gone Wrong is a presentation that is just as successful in its recent home release as in its very brief theatrical run this fall.  That is proven in part through its story.  The story is a dual-pronged presentation that is both an indictment of big tech and its impact on society (specifically on young people) and a reminder about the need for people to make decisions and friends for themselves.  While the story is fully engaging and entertaining, the bonus content that comes with the movie’s home release (or rather the lack thereof) detracts from the movie’s home presentation at least to a point.  It is not enough to make the movie’s home release a failure by any means.  The story’s pacing (and also work of the movie’s cast) rounds out the movie’s most important elements.  When all of this is considered together, it makes the movie just as largely successful in its home release as in its brief theatrical run.

Ron’s Gone Wrong is available now on digital, DVD, Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, and 4K UHD/BD/Digital combo pack. More information on this and other titles from 20th Century Studios is available at:

Websitehttps://20thcenturystudios.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/20thCenturyStudios

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/20thcentury

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Families Will Not Go Wrong Watching ‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’ At Least Once

Courtesy: 20th Century Studios/Locksmith Animation

20th Century Studios’ brand new family friendly CG flick, Ron’s Gone Wrong is a surprisingly entertaining presentation from the Disney-owned movie.  The nearly two-hour movie (more specifically, it runs approximately one hour, 47 minutes) surprises in part because of its story.  The two-pronged story will be examined shortly.  By relation, the story’s pacing is also of import to the movie’s success and will be examined a little later.  The cast’s acting also plays into the movie’s success.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered, they make Ron’s Gone Wrong a movie that surprisingly, audiences will not go wrong watching.

20th Century Studios’ brand new family friendly CG-flick, Ron’s Gone Wrong is a surprisingly successful new offering from the studio formerly known as 20th Century Fox.  The studio’s name was changed in 2020 after it was bought by Disney the same year.  The movie’s surprising success comes in large part through its story.  The story is a two-part presentation that will appeal to younger and older viewers alike.  One half of the story is a clear indictment of big tech, its impact on young people’s mental health, and the unscrupulous measures that big tech will take to exploit those noted users.  The story’s other half centers on the all-too-important message of the importance of friendship and its related topics.  The two halves weave together seamlessly throughout the movie, and together with the pacing (which again, will be discussed a little later) make the story overall fully engaging and entertaining.  The overarching discussion on the invasive nature of social media and its negative impact on young people’s mental health is timeless.  This will remain a concern until such time as young people can pull themselves away from social media and its addictive clutches.  To that end, the story likely will not earn an Oscar®, but will remain timely, making it relatable for generations of audiences.  The movie’s writers clearly went after Apple, Facebook, and so much other big tech and social media in delivering this message.  The companies are not named, but rather spoofed so to speak, through the use of the company, “Bubble” and its antagonistic boss, Andrew.  Andrew is clearly a lifting of Steve Jobs while Marc Weidell is clearly an allusion to Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg.

The connected story about friendship ties directly into the indictment of big tech and social media as lead character Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer – It, Luca, Shazam) finds himself the only student in his middle school – Nonsuch Middle School – without a so-called B*Bot.  The B*bot, is a digital friend that knows everything about its user, and uses that information to help young people find new friends.  Marc (Justice Smith – Paper Towns, The Get Down, Jurassic WorldFallen Kingdom) even called the tech the “perfect friend” right in the story’s opening scene.  That immediate message lets people know that one of the key messages in this story is that friends are anything but perfect, but rather perfect in being imperfect.  Barney learns that invaluable lesson when his dad, Graham (Ed Helms – The Office, Vacation, The Hangover) gets Barney his own B-bot (albeit illegally).  In learning its serial number, Barney shortens the bot’s name to just Ron.  Ron is voiced here by Zach Galifianakis (Due Date, The Hangover, The Lego Batman Movie).  His work here is some of his best, and that is actually saying something considering the dumbed down performances that he has presented in the noted movies and others.  It will be discussed later.  Getting back on the subject at hand, Barney and Ron eventually develop a real friendship because Ron is not like all of the other B-bots out there.  What develops will immediately ring a bell with those familiar with the 1986 movie, Short Circuit and its sequel, which came only two years later.  That buddy comedy centered on a robot that developed sentience and only wanted to protect and befriend people.  The good thing here is that this story element does not attempt to just simply rip off said movies, even despite the clear comparison.  What audiences eventually get here is that we should not let tech dominate our lives to the point that we are relying on it to make decisions for us.  We should not rely on it so much that it is doing everything for us, because we know better than technology who we are and what and who we like.  So yes, between this overarching message and that of the almost criminal nature of big tech, the overall story here will remain relevant for years to come.  It also boasts its own share of heart along the way, too.  It makes the story reason enough for audiences to give this movie a chance.

As much as the story does for Ron’s Gone Wrong in terms of its success, it is just one part of what makes the movie so surprisingly positive.  The story’s pacing also plays into its success.  Reminder, the movie’s run time is approximately one hour, 47 minutes.  That is actually a long run time for a family friendly flick.  Thankfully even being as long as the story is and with so much going on, the pacing remains solid.  This is the case even in the story’s final act in which it seems like the writers – Peter Baymham and Sarah Smith – seem to have had trouble deciding how to end the story.  The action and overall content is solid enough that the story keeps moving at a relatively solid pace throughout.  The result is that the pacing ensures the engagement and entertainment of younger viewers just as much as their older counterparts.  It makes the movie’s overall presentation that much more surprising in its appeal.  The cast’s work joins with the story and its pacing to round out the movie’s most important items.

The work put in by the movie’s cast adds a certain amount of heart to the presentation that make the movie that much more appealing.  The noted heart that is presented comes in part through the performance of star Zach Galifianakis.  As noted, Galifianakis has starred in plenty of less than memorable movies during his career.  His performances therein are just as forgettable.  They make him seem like he lacked any real credibility as an actor, all things considered.  However in this case, his performance as the imperfect perfect friend Ron is so subtle.  That subtlety makes Ron so loveable to viewers of all ages.  It makes Ron such a loveable character in his innocence.  Grazer, by relation, is just as talented as he brings Barney to life.  The way in which he handles Barney’s emotional and personal growth as he navigates his new middle school life and the changes from his former friends turned selfish youths makes Barney a fully sympathetic character.  Those friends – Rich (Ricardo Hurtado – School of Rock, The Goldbergs, Country Comfort) and Savannah (Keylie Cantrall – Just Roll With It, Gabby Duran & The Unsittables) – are among those who fall victim to the addictive nature of the B*bots and big tech.  It makes their revelation about who and what they had become late in the story somewhat unbelievable.  That is not to say that Hurtado and Cantrall did a bad job in their roles.  Rather they did a good job overall.  It is just that at that moment, it is difficult to empathize or even sympathize with them for what Savannah acknowledges they caused.  Audiences will appreciate the pair’s work as they become so addicted to their own fleeting fame, considering that is how so many real world youths (and people in general) have become thanks to YouTube channels, Facebook, Instagram, and social media in general.  It really is an accurate reflection of society.  But again, there is something in that one noted moment that makes their remorse lacking in real emotion. 

On yet another note, Olivia Colman (Hot Fuzz, The Lobster, Tyrannosaur) deserves her own credit in her portrayal of Barney’s grandmother, Donka.  Donka is only a supporting character, but Colman makes full use of her time in the role.  Yes, that includes a little bit of adult humor, but in reality, what kids’ show does not/has not incorporate/incorporated some adult humor for the parents/guardians of its young audiences to enjoy?  The scene involving the meat cleaver and the flashback to Barney’s sixth birthday party give Colman plenty of opportunity to create laughs.  She succeeds in her acting in each case, too.  Even in a subtle moment, such as when she pretends to be a cleaner to help Barney and company break into Bubble’s headquarters (again, yes, that is a direct spoof of Apple), she shines.  Colman’s overall performance makes for a great introduction for viewers that are less familiar with her and her body of work.  It is just one more way in which the cast’s work shows itself so important to the overall presentation of Ron’s Gone Wrong.  When the overall work of the cast is considered along with the story and its pacing, the whole comes together to make the movie a surprisingly entertaining new offering for audiences of all ages.

20th Century Studios’ latest family friendly CG flick, Ron’s Gone Wrong is a surprisingly entertaining presentation for the whole family.  The movie’s success comes in large part through its story.  The story immediately lends itself to comparison to the timeless 1986 buddy comedy Short Circuit but still boats its own identity separate from that movie despite the clear comparison.  The balance of its two-part story line is handled expertly throughout and offers elements that will appeal to grown-ups and younger viewers alike.  Older viewers will appreciate the commentary about the near criminal nature of big tech (including social media) while the messages about friendship tied into the overall story are certain to resonate with younger viewers.  The overall story’s pacing works with the story to add to the movie’s appeal.  That is because it ensures viewers’ engagement and entertainment throughout.  This is even despite its nearly two-hour run time.  The cast’s work voicing the characters puts the final touch to the presentation.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered, they make Ron’s Gone Wrong a right choice for the whole family.

Ron’s Gone Wrong is in theaters now.  More information on this and other titles from 20th Century Studios is available at:

Website: https://20thcenturystudios.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/20thCenturyStudios

Twitter: https://twitter.com/20thcentury

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