‘Rumble’ is the latest animation comedy-drama from Paramount Animation that debuted on December 15 directed by Hamish Grieve from a screenplay he wrote alongside Matt Lieberman and Rob Harrell.
This movie features voices from stars such as Geraldine Viswanathan, Terry Crews, Will Arnett, Ben Schwartz, WWE wrestler Romain reigns, and Susan Kelechi Watson.
This family film is loosely based on the graphic novel Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell, which details a village in Victorian England where the people turn in crowds to support their own titans.
In its case, ‘Rumble’ maintains the element of the sponsored monster fight but is now set in the modern-day era with a couple of WWE components.
This flick takes place in a town where monsters live peacefully amongst human beings. However, instead of a group of massive men and women entertaining the masses on the wrestling ring, monster wrestlers solely dominate the sport.
The setup is complete with everything as it would appear on a regular stage. There are announcers, referees, spectators, and even trainers who ensure that their monster players are seasoned enough to take on their opponents.
After the town’s reigning champion tentacular voiced by Terry Crews decides to switch camp to the neighboring town in search of greener pastures, Stoker loses its primary source of income which means its highly treasured stadium could easily become a shadow of its former self.
So, a teenage girl named Winnie McEvoy, voiced by Viswanathan, who also happens to be the daughter of the greatest monster coach of all times, decides to take up the mantle and continue her late father’s legacy by creating a one monster show in order to restore her town to its former glory.
She enlists the help of one of the laziest titans around, named Steve, voiced by Will Arnett. While the stooge doesn’t see his worth when it comes to dominating the ring, he’s pretty famous as a loser who is paid to throw away matches for some meager cash though Winnie has a lot of faith in his capabilities.
Her optimism is intensified by the fact that Steve is Rayburn’s son. Rayburn used to be an icon in the sport during his heydays and is viewed as a legend in Stoker.
Now the duo is determined to live up to their parents’ greatness and expectations and uphold the fame and respect of their beloved town.
Furthermore, the images of their late fathers whose coach-monster team-up was the apple of the town’s eye still dominate the city’s stadium, and they’d very much want to preserve these in their memory.
But Steve would rather do something else, an activity that he derives boundless joy from, namely salsa dancing. However, the unlikely duo still sacrifices their desires for the sake of their community.
Even though the ultimate goal for the two teammates is crystal clear, the script doesn’t fully exploit the identities of the two main characters. Despite Winnie being the motivating factor for Steve to exploit his full potential and live up to his father’s name, her thoughts, feelings, and interests outside the central purpose aren’t declared.
It also beats the aspect of letting people follow their passion instead of making them be something they’d rather not just because it runs in their family.
In this case, one would expect Winnie to encourage Steve to pursue his love for salsa by maybe joining a dance group or even training professionally to hone his skills further.
But ‘Rumble’ quickly neutralizes this by Winnie encouraging Steve to use his unique salsa moves as maneuvering tactics for his matches; hence one can consider it a decent compromise.
The visual humor is limited for a movie involving such a tactical approach. The various references to the sports conglomerate World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE don’t resonate per se except for Michael Buffer’s cameo as an announcer.
‘Rumble’ stays close to the sports movie tropes as a fearless underdog tries to bypass the odds to live up to his family’s legacy and save his beloved home from a selfish developer.
The feature stays true to the aspects of movies in this genre. From inspiring coach speeches to the training tactics, following in the footsteps of legendary parents, unconventional styles of winning that aren’t featured anywhere in the professional books all the way to the final epic showdown.
This movie doesn’t do anything new in this regard but, the scenes of monsters going against their fellows on the ring are a fantastically entertaining spectacle which sets this movie aside from its kind that has come before it.
The most intriguing aspect of ‘Rumble’ is seeing monsters shelling out sports drink sponsorships and all the preparations put into consideration to ensure that the events run smoothly and successfully.
The setting is structured to cater to both monsters and human beings. For instance, human coaches have to fly around in scooters in order to converse with their towering players.
It’s basically all the WWE madness, but now with horns, tentacles, and monster incarnations delivering a relish visual treat for audiences.
The monster contestants are as varied as possible, ranging from colossal scaly reptiles to the smallest puffballs who use their unique features as assets for their matches.
The human characters don’t stand out so much except for Winnie, whose endearing personality and confident walk commands the space as much as the titans she works with.
One of the most memorable moments in this movie is when Winnie stands on a raised platform so that she can look Steve straight in the eye during one of those speech moments, which is a pretty charming moment.
Another very visible human is Tentacular’s social media-obsessed manager Jimothy Bret-Chadley III voiced by Ben Schwartz.
‘Rumble’ tries to bring the action on the ring, but sadly it doesn’t fully live to the expectation, and its impact on audiences is rather subtle for a movie that should literally bring the house down with monsters and all.
Still, it’s an entertaining fest for the young audiences as the scenes where the titans take on each other are an absolute thriller for the adorable little munchkins.