‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’ explores friendship and technology

Barney (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer) and Ron (voiced by Zack Galifianakis) in ‘Ron’s Gone Wrong.’
Cinecolor Films

By Carolina Cerda Maira, MWN

There are many films that are based on true stories, and ‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’ is one of them. The animated movie focuses on a particular relationship of a boy with a bot. 

“The idea of this film came to me when my daughter was using the iPad and started saying, ‘Mommy, we have to buy this or that,’ depending on the ads that popped up. She would parrot them,” Sarah Smith, director, screenwriter and producer, explained to Metro.

“Like most parents in the universe, I have arguments with her about screen time. We don’t know what to answer when they come in and say ‘I have to have this device, everyone has it.'”

That’s when Smith thought of a device being an animated character.

“I want every film I make to be like a message in a bottle to my daughter,” she said.   

That’s how the story about bots that know every detail of little kids’ lives and help them make friends in the real world was born. Barney is one of them. The socially awkward middle-schooler lives with his Bulgarian grandmother and his father, who do not understand the “need” for this B-Bot. 

But when his family finally understands that everyone has this “best friend” except Barney, they get him one. The problem is that Ron, the name of this technological friend, doesn’t work well: he doesn’t know anything about Barney, only gets him into trouble and turns him into someone even weirder.

This is due to screenwriter Peter Baynham’s idea.

“My idea was a bit sappy. Because my idea was that this kid and his B-Bot would start to adore each other,” Smith remembered. “But Pete said, ‘What if he’s a jerk?’”

“I have a long history of writing idiot characters,” Baynham, who has been Oscar-nominated for his work on the two cheeky “Borat” tapes, added.

Yes, Ron is certainly a flawed B-Bot.

“He got 5% of the system down and 95% of it is a blank sheet. Plus, he’s an idiot and doesn’t work, so he’s got that physical comedy side to him.”

The film features two very different people responsible for creating these bots and shows the unkind and more intrusive side of the technology. 

“We thought it was like taking Mark Zuckerberg and splitting him in half. There’s the idealistic part, the part that wants to connect people because tech entrepreneurs indeed have done it – it’s just a matter of looking at us now,” the filmmaker said. “But there’s also a part of them that can’t resist knowing everything about the users and selling it piecemeal. And we want kids to know that that’s something that happens.”

‘Ron’s Gone Wrong’ is now showing in theaters. 

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