‘Rumble’ Review: “A Silly & Harmless Underdog Story”
If there’s one thing that my friends here at Full Circle Cinema know about me, it’s that I absolutely love professional wrestling. With weekly offerings from the top companies in the world like WWE and AEW, I consume several hours of wrestling a week. Additionally, as seen in my weekly reviews for Stephen Amell’s latest series Heels, I clearly cannot get enough of the form of entertainment. Imagine my surprise when seeing a trailer for a new animated movie taking place inside a wrestling ring.
That animated feature, titled Rumble, is a joint-production between Paramount Animation, WWE Studios, Walden Media, and Reel FX Animation Studios. Directed and written by Hamish Grieve (Monsters vs. Aliens) and Matt Lieberman (Scoob!), the film touts an incredibly impressive ensemble voice cast. Led by Will Arnett, the likes of Geraldine Viswanathan, Terry Crews, Stephen A. Smith, Jimmy Tatro, Tony Danza, Tony Shalhoub, and Ben Schwartz all lend their voice talents to the film. Notably, the wrestling feature also receives a bit of credibility in the form of WWE Raw Women’s Champion, Becky Lynch, and WWE Universal Champion, The Tribal Cheif Roman Reigns, among those in the cast as well.
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Rumble takes place in a world where humans and giant monsters co-exist. However, in this world, the giant monsters tend to work as big-time professional wrestlers. Borrowing inspiration from the old school territory days of pro wrestling, big hometowns and cities tout large wrestling teams who compete for the Big Belt. The tiny town of Stoker-on-Avon loses its champion after Tentacular (Terry Crews) moves on for greener pastures. This causes the village’s pride and joy, Stoker Stadium, to find itself at risk of being closed. The story kicks off when legendary Coach Coyle’s daughter Winnie (Geraldine Viswanathan) decides to follow in her father’s footsteps and coach a new monster to rise up as a champion. The monster in question is Steve (Will Arnett), a giant red monster buried in years of debt. The film attempts to create relatable characters within total out-of-this-world circumstances. And, the film features far more hits than it does misses, thankfully.
In the same vein as a film like Pixar’s Cars, Rumble offers a totally unique insight into the world of professional wrestling. A lot of fun bits shine through as the giant monsters revel in the glory of fan adoration and flaunt their riches and fame. It’s a totally ridiculous scenario that feels as if it shouldn’t work. However, thanks to some clever writing and unexpected jokes and gags, the film features a lot of entertaining beats within its 90 minutes.
Rumble offers a prototypical sports genre story. A plucky, down-on-his-luck underdog teams up with a young up-and-comer with something to prove. He fumbles and makes mistakes, but ultimately, he finds a way to persevere. It’s formulaic. But, as a fan of wrestling, it’s a genuinely refreshing take on the absurdity that is professional wrestling. Additionally, Rumble introduces a bevy of fun, interesting characters with a lot of charm and wit.
Overall, creates a creative and wholly unique animated feature. While it features some tired gags often seen in animated comedies, the setting of the world of wrestling feels fresh. Rumble doesn’t take itself too seriously. The film also serves up some fast-paced, energetic wrestling matches inside of the squared circle. Wrestling fans looking for a good time cannot ask for much more than that.
Rumble is streaming now on Paramount+!
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