Rumble (2021) MOVIE REVIEW | CRPWrites


Movie Review


  • Connor Petrey
  • crpWritescom
  • crpwritescom
  • crpWrites
Matt Conway
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 Published: 12.29.21

           MPAA: PG

Genre: Animation. Comedy. Family.

“Rumble's destiny is to be forgotten”

     RELEASE: 12.15.21

RUMBLE (2021) 


"In a world where monster wrestling is a global sport and monsters are superstar athletes, teenage Winnie seeks to follow in her father's footsteps by coaching a loveable underdog monster into a champion."


Amidst an ever-shifting theatrical marketplace, Paramount continues to embrace creative solutions with their bevy of holdovers titles. Whether it's selling films off to other studios (The Tomorrow War became a noteworthy acquisition for Amazon Prime) or embracing a hybrid theatrical/streaming model for titles like Clifford the Big Red Dog, the distributor remains flexible with different rollout plans. 


The same can be said for the WWE-produced animated effort, Rumble, which shifted from a July 2020 theatrical release to a Paramount+ exclusive. The reasons behind Rumble's scrapped theatrical rollout are ever apparent when watching the final product, with writer/director Hamish Grieve and company constructing a bare minimum effort from the film's formulaic foundation. 


The uninspiring results aren't a huge surprise considering the middling track record of the WWE brand. Aside from the earnest, down-to-earth charm of 2019's Fighting with My Family, the WWE's attempts at big-screen offerings feature none of the pageantry or over-the-top bravado that makes the sport a beloved staple. 


Rumble isn't necessarily terrible, with Grieve's veteran expertise helping guide along with a semi-competent narrative (the writer/director was a crucial fixture in Dreamworks animation department). The film displays keen self-awareness of its inherent disposability, briskly rushing from slapstick gags to well-worn plot gimmicks without taxing viewers with too much of their time. Skilled voice actors Geraldine Viswanathan and Will Arnett help keep the narrative afloat while ESPN stalwart Stephen A. Smith adds some comedic pop from his signature brand of over-the-top reactions. 


Outside of maintaining a semblance of competence, Rumble doesn't excel at very much. The underdog sports movie narrative by Grieve and co-writer Matt Lieberman is about as thankless as it gets, sifting through one generic cliche after another without many thoughtful deviations. I wouldn't be surprised if even younger viewers could see where the played-out narrative roadmap concludes, as no one involved imbues much creativity into a semi-promising set-up (how can someone make wrestling monsters so mundane?). 


Perhaps Rumble's largest misgiving is its distinct lack of personality. Whether the film lazily incorporates tired pop-culture gags or showcases an animated style devoid of energetic wrinkles, there isn't much to resuscitate this lifeless corpse of a movie. The film's only real purpose is to serve as a thankless avenue for the WWE to artlessly market their brand to a generation of younger viewers. 

I could go on about Rumble's stumbles, but it's the kind of movie that is almost pointless to tear down. While the busy animated effort may please a few younger viewers, Rumble's destiny is to be forgotten amongst Paramount's sizable streaming catalog.


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