REVIEW / FILM OPINION – In “Ron Unlocks”, a revolutionary robot suffering from a manufacturing defect begins to make its own. A freak out that deserves the trip to the cinema?
Ron unlocks : an eventful meeting
First feature film from Locksmith Animation studio, Ron unlocks opens with the inauguration of a new object intended for children. This introduction, which takes up the famous presentations of an electronics giant, highlights the B-Bot, the first virtual and ultra-connected friend who allows young people to expand their circle of acquaintances according to their areas of interest.
Revolutionary or disturbing – or both, it depends, the B-Bot is logically a hit in the playgrounds. But unfortunately, some unfortunate people do not have the chance to expand their community and to expose their countless talents without restraint. This is the case of Barney, who lives with his grandmother and his father, a clumsy inventor who struggles to convince potential buyers.
Despite his modest income, the latter is absolutely keen to please his son for his birthday. He manages to find him a B-Bot and Barney is already seen cheating loneliness thanks to his new companion. But Barney’s B-Bot is like no other. Suffering from a slight manufacturing problem, the robot named Ron sets off strange reactions, which do not really work in the boy’s favor.
Before Ron takes the stage, the film gently pokes fun at certain brands that are no longer presented and social media addiction, as well as the endless staging possibilities that come with it. Current themes addressed in an agreed manner, avoiding a crazy side that would have allowed the feature film to gain in energy, but also in relevance.
A touching friendship …
The little grain of madness the film needs comes with Ron’s first appearance, however. Artificial intelligence configuration errors and its inability to connect to the global network lead to some tasty gags, starting with the reaction of an old lady frightened by the robot’s desire to socialize.
The feature film also marks the birth of a touching friendship, reinforced by many misunderstandings and other bugs, which recalls that between the young Elliott and ET in AND The extra-terrestrial. During a flight in the forest which drags in length and marks a moment of hesitation in the story, Ron unlocks clearly invokes the Steven Spielberg classic.
… in an artificial universe
Unfortunately, in its references and its way of treating its subject, oscillating between criticism and approval, the film already appears to be dated. Except at rare moments, he prefers avoid excess in his satire of new technologies to adopt a more tempered point of view, without fully endorsing them.
Ron unlocks seems to refuse the madness offered by animation to ogle towards a refined and therefore anecdotal universe, like the long empty corridors of the Bubble company, which markets B-Bots. The same goes for the climax, which is limited to minimal freaking out in the hallways and courtyard of a school. In this atmosphere far too wise to fully convince nevertheless some regressive valves float which should convince young and old children.
Ron unlocks by Jean-Philippe Vine, Sarah Smith and Octavio Rodriguez, in theaters on 20 October 2021. Above the trailer. Find all our trailers here.