Rumble will be diverting enough for its target audience, which I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess is humans who have not yet reached the double digits. As for the rest of us: it’s an unoriginal story told with predictable dialogue, but it’s not as bad as nails on a blackboard.
The best part of director Hamish Grieve’s animated feature is the colorful, eye-popping creatures, none of whom would be terribly out of place at the Tatooine cantina, which I mean as high praise indeed. The plot (based on Rob Harrell’s graphic novel Monster on the Hill), follows plucky youngster Winnie Coyle (Geraldine Viswanathan) as she tries to save her hometown of Stoker from ruin. To do this, she must save its star attraction and commercial heart, the Jimbo Coyle Stadium, named for her late father, legendary coach Jimbo Coyle (Carlos Gómez), and home to the legendary monster wrestling champ, Tentacular (Terry Crews). The stadium is in danger of shuttering because the suction superpower is abandoning the town in the service of a soulless corporate overlord. It falls to Winnie’s reluctant prodigy, Rayburn Jr. (Will Arnett), son of the late, legendary monster-fighter Rayburn Sr. (Charles Barkley!), to take down Tentacular and save the day.
It’s not quite as clunky as it sounds, and it has a kicky if cliche message of girl power embedded in it. But really, it’s all about the monster fights, and they’re fun, especially when Rayburn Jr. really leans into his love of salsa. Bonus points for the animation’s vivid portrayal of stadium wrestling culture; the detail in the massive crowd scenes tells a story about many in it. PG, 104 min.