- Directed by Hamish Grieve
- December 15, 2021
- Based on the graphic novel Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell
- Steve/Rayburn Jr.-Will Arnett
- Young Steve/Rayburn Jr.-Gracen Newton
- Winnie Coyle-Geraldine Viswanathan
- Young Winnie Coyle-Kaya McLean
- Maggie Coyle-Susan Kelechi Watson
- Jimbo Coyle-Carlos Gómez
- Tentacular-Terry Crews
- The Mayor-Fred Melamed
- Rayburn Sr.-Charles Barkley
- King Gorge-Chris Eubank
- Lady Mayhem-Bridget Everett
- Jimothy Brett-Chadley III-Ben Schwartz
- Klonk-Brian Baumgartner
- Lights Out McGinty/Mac-Jimmy Tatro
- Axehammer-Becky Lynch
- Ramarilla Jackson-Roman Reigns
- Siggy-Tony Danza
- Marc Remy-Stephen A. Smith
- Stoker Announcer-Michael Buffer
- Fred-Tony Shalhoub
- The Councilwoman-Greta Lee
- Tattoo Guy and Betting Guy-John DiMaggio
- Denise-Jamal Duff
- Nerdle-Carlos Alazraqui
- Farmer-Chris Anthony Lansdowne
- King Gorge’s Coach-Christopher Knights
- Referee-Fred Tatasciore
In a world where kaiju are wrestling superstars, a young woman seeks to follow in her father’s footsteps and save her town’s stadium by coaching the son of a missing champion.
WWE Studios didn’t try too hard to come up with an idea here. Seriously. Rumble is an animated movie with wrestling as the MacGuffin that gets everything rolling. To set the stage for our discussion, kaiju have been around for ages and their battles have evolved into a global wrestling sport. A town either has their own champion or they do not and fall into obscurity.
Immediately I feel if this movie was not released on Paramount+ it would have been dumped on direct-to-video and arrive shortly thereafter at your friendly neighborhood Dollar Tree or Dollar General. BTW, both are very good for finding quality movies at a HUGE discount, but you do need to sift through plenty of junk. Anywho…
With this movie they try to do an animated Rocky with wrestling instead and it just never quite gets to that. The character of Rocky put his best foot forward and gave it his all. He succeeded by stepping up to the challenge even if he did not actually succeed. Our main monster character of Steve/Rayburn Jr. must be dragged to do what he is supposed to do. He has gone so far as to wrestle under a fake name in an illegal wrestling circuit because he can’t deal with his missing father’s (Rayburn Sr.) legacy.
In the story Steve/Rayburn Jr. is paired with the young Winnie Coyle who is an aspiring monster wrestling trainer and the daughter of coaching legend Jimbo Coyle. Jimbo so happens to have been Rayburn Sr.’s coach and both Rayburn Jr. and Winnie were pals as kids so why does she not recognize him when they meet years later? Don’t know.
The events here center around the existence of a stadium in the town of Stoker that is going to be leveled in 30 days for parking lot since hours/days before Stoker’s star Tentacular left town for a bigger venue where he would not need to live under the shadow of the legacy of Rayburn Sr. Winnie takes it upon herself to find a new monster to bring in the business. Not too bad of an idea but 30 days seems like too short of a time to get a new champion to draw business to a second-tier venue considering all those that should care display extreme indifference after a few moments of learning the problem. You can’t just slap anybody in there-even in a fictional world of monster wrestlers.
The writing is okay. For a movie aimed squarely at kids it’s perfectly acceptable but that is it. But it’s clearly aimed at the very young children more often than not. It often mildly talks down to the audience. I guess you could call it condescending. Events in Rumble just kind of meanders around and then the finale happens. There’s just no emotional impact in it. I don’t need to be moved to jumping out of my seat and cheering but I need to feel something, and I just don’t feel it here.
The pace of the story is uneven. Sometimes it moves quickly. Other times it just drags along. The dialogue is okay but not great. The humor is hit or miss. There are some genuinely funny jokes in this, but those are few and far between. This could have easily been for the kids but enjoyable by the adults.
Plot elements are introduced and either poorly used or not used at all. Winnie’s father Jimbo is M.I.A. as is Rayburn Sr. (both at the same time it seems) and you think something might come of that but it never does. It was just to sweep them off the board and simplify the story. They just mysteriously disappear. And we never get beyond that.
And one could be forgiven for forgetting that Winnie’s mother is still alive and a part of the story. The character of Winnie’s mom is a very minor individual in all of this and comes off much more as a family friend than as a parental figure. She offers no advice or guidance but offers direction at work.
Rayburn Jr. has daddy issues, and it appears early on to be that his dad was perhaps a bit on the emotionally abusive side but they never go any deeper with that. There is a flashback scene where pops seems to be crushing the soul of his son but that goes nowhere. They then switch back to his dad being an awesome guy whose legacy he eventually embraces.
We get the criminal element and rigged matches at an illegal wrestling ring. A nod to the scripting of real wrestling? We get the missing parents. We get the emotionally crippled bulldog character. But nothing happens with ANY of it. Almost any of it. Rayburn Jr. is into dance which informs his style but that comes and goes as needed.
Overall Rumble’s main goal is clearly to sell wrestling to kids. I’m not sure why you would have to do that. Having been a child and enamored with wrestling myself, wrestling sells itself to children. At least it did in the 80s. They were superheroes with cool names and great costumes. But despite being a thinly vailed attempt by the WWE to get kids interested in their major product there is potential here. It’s all wasted.
There’s nothing too special about the character designs. While the monsters are intriguing, the humans look like any number you might see in the background of a Pixar feature. And the same level of detail. This would look good 15 or 20 years ago but today it is just okay.
The voice acting is okay. Terry Crews as Tentacular is probably the best of the bunch here. I cannot call the performers terrible but the general B List talent they have here was unnecessary. Cut some costs and hire professional voice actors rather than hoping Tony Danza or Will Arnett will get some eyeballs on this.
With rather generic animation, character designs, and adequate voiceover work there is nothing too special about Rumble. I’m sure your kids will love it but adults probably not.