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Blu-ray Review: Rumble

October 18, 2022

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

Paramount’s animated film Rumble imagines a world of “monster wrestling,” where giant creatures fight each other for entertainment with the help of human trainers, and each city has their own massive kaiju to represent them.

The most famous of these trainers was the late Jimbo Coyle (Carlos Gómez), who coached a world champion monster named Rayburn (Charle Barkley), representing the working class city of Stoker. But these characters only make up the backstory of the film, which actually focuses on Jimbo’s daughter Winnie (Geraldine Viswanathan).

Stoker’s current monster wrestler representative is Tentacular (Terry Crews), a creature with a shark head and tentacled body. When Tentacular suddenly announces that he is leaving for another bigger city, the town’s economy is put in jeopardy. So Winnie takes it upon herself to find a replacement to save her town’s stadium, which is a bedrock of the community and going to be sold off for construction without its star attraction.

Winnie finds a new challenger to coach in big red beast Steve the Stupendous (Will Arnett), a sensitive monster with a promising lineage who is more interested in Salsa dancing, who she stumbles upon at an underground wrestling facility. The story of Rumble is thoroughly generic and predictable. It follows the beats of countless other underdog sports movies to a tee, and aside from the somewhat imaginative premise, which is almost like a friendlier version of Pacific Rim, it has little going for it in terms of genuinely compelling characters or originality.

Sure, Rumble is mostly adequate as a piece of children’s entertainment. The animation is decent and expectedly polished (though some of the monster designs are more appealing than others), and it moves at an energetic pace as it goes through the predicted plot points, matched by some authentic wrestling jargon and a grittier aesthetic to parts of this world. But the film lacks a genuine spark that would have allowed it to really leave its mark. Younger audiences, especially those into wrestling, should have fun with it, but for everyone else this is a pretty forgettable and derivative animated sports movie.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The Blu-ray comes with a handful of bonus featurettes. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package, which ships with a slipcover.

The Super-Secret Playbook (4 minutes): Winnie takes us through a number of monster wrestling moves.

The Mon-Stars of Wrestling (4 minutes, 40 seconds): An introduction to the different wrestling champions in the film, done in the style of a promotional video.

Salsa with Rayburn, Jr. (2 minutes, 21 seconds): A fake instructional video about the benefits of Salsa dancing.

Massive Monsters, Wrestling Moves, and Dazzling Dances (5 minutes, 14 seconds): Director Hamish Grieve discusses the character designs of the different monsters, and how the animators used footage of fight and dance choreographers as reference.

Four Rounds in the Animation Ring (1 minute, 52 seconds): A brief overview of the four main stages of animation (storyboards, layout, animation, lighting).

Deleted Scenes (Play All – 4 minutes, 42 seconds): Five moments deleted from the film, presented in various forms of animation. There are some moments that help flesh out the world (I think the first one in particularly shoulda stayed in).

Siggy’s Apartment (1 minute, 24 seconds)

Hitching a Ride (1 minute, 7 seconds)

3AM Rayburn (28 seconds)

Fro Yoing (1 minute, 15 seconds)

Tentaculade (27 seconds)

Rumble is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. It’s 94 minutes and rated G.

Street Date: October 18th, 2022

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