Listen. You’re probably going to think this trailer starts with an ad. You might tune out, because there are always ads before videos and no one pays attention to them. But you’d be wrong. The ad is the trailer. Which, assuming there will be a toy version of the lil’ pill-shaped robots the not-an-ad-but-a-trailer is shilling, means it’s really an ad for the toy as well as for the movie.
A cynic might argue that many animated films are just long ads for their associated toys, but this trailer for Ron’s Gone Wrong makes all of that extra explicit. Every kid wants a B*Bot! But when Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer) gets one, it’s… not right. Functionally not right, as opposed to the kind of not-right all the robots seem to be (they’re surveillance devices, right? Digital Elves off the Shelves?).
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Ron’s Gone Wrong co-director Sarah Smith made explicit the film’s message about online relationships and digital communication, saying that as her team worked on the film through lockdowns, “our film became more poignant and about the pitfalls of relationships conducted entirely through screens and messages online, because you just don’t have all those other human cues. It means everyone has to work hard to communicate with each other.”
The official summary explains, “Ron’s hilarious malfunctions, set against the backdrop of the social media age, launch them into an action-packed journey in which boy and robot come to terms with the wonderful messiness of true friendship.”
Will kids want to watch a movie about how the internet is bad, actually? Maybe if you make the robot cute enough. Ron’s Gone Wrong is in theaters October 22nd.