I've been feeling very bad for Paramount Animation for the past few years. Back in 2011, they were formed by Paramount after the huge success with "Rango" which even took home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature that year and were destined to try to rival Pixar and DreamWorks with their animated catalog and Paramount even dumped the latter to try to make it big with their own animation studio. Unfortunately, their gamble has not been paying off since apart from the second SpongeBob film "Sponge Out of Water", their films have left little to be desired for both critics and audiences and haven't done well at all. I haven't been too enthusiastic with their films either and it's sad to say that "Rumble" is yet another dud to be added in their catalog. This was an animated film that was supposed to come out way back in January this year but was shifted around several times before finally being dropped onto Paramount's streaming service Paramount+ and I can see why it was. This is not a very good animated film.
In a world where humans and monsters live together, a town called Stoker takes great pride in the sport of monster wrestling. After the town's monster Tentacular (Terry Crews) wins the ultimate match, he decides to ditch the town and leave it behind for a better deal in a new city. To make matters worse for the town, because they spent so much money on a brand new stadium dedicated to the late monster coach Jimbo Coyle and his monster Rayburn and lost their star monster, their town is facing bankruptcy and the stadium will face demolition and is doomed to be turned into a parking lot if the town doesn't get the money. Wanting to save the stadium, Jimbo's daughter Winnie (Geraldine Viswanathan) sets of to try to find a monster to help rise to the top. She eventually finds Rayburn's son Rayburn Jr., who now goes under the name Steve (Will Arnett), and decides to train him to make him a great wrestler and to save the town's stadium from being imploded.
This is an animated film that really left a bad taste in my mouth after it was over. I remember watching the trailer for this film way back in 2020 when the "Sonic the Hedgehog" film came out and before the pandemic started and while I wasn't looking forward to it, I didn't imagine just how bad the film would be. The story itself didn't really amaze me, mainly because I'm not a big wrestling fan. As soon as the film starts, it throws out dozens of tiresome cliches and tropes that have been used in countless animated films before and doesn't do anything new with them. It opens with us learning that both of our protagonist's fathers are dead because they were lost at sea and it only gets worse from there. It just kept making me think back to better-animated films and how they handled their cliches and tropes a lot better. It's clear this film is obviously trying to be like "Kung Fu Panda" since it's an underdog story where a coach brings the best out of a fat but still bumbling main character and makes him the best, but it's done nowhere near as well in that film and the way the training is built up did feel somewhat off to me since Steve didn't really seem interested in wrestling to begin with since he likes to dance more than wrestling and yet Winnie still forces him to wrestle despite him not wanting to be like his dad. I know the message of the film was to be yourself and not let others put you down for you act, but I feel it wasn't presented very well. Even then, it was especially hard for me to care for them because the whole film revolves around saving a giant stadium that's gonna be turned into a parking lot and that Winnie wants to save it because it's tied to her father's legacy. I think back to other animated films that used those cliches and made them work like "Curious George" and "Sing". Even then, the fights between the monsters aren't really fun to watch and just feel rather boring and the jokes also do not land. For example, there's a whole running gag about one guy in Stoker where he has Tentacular tattooed all over his body and he gets upset when he left the town and we see him constantly moping about it. If they brought it up once, it could've worked but hammering it over and over again really made it tiresome. As far as the animation goes, I do really like the monster character designs and the sets. The monster designs are all very creative and unique and have a lot of cool things to them like having glowing tentacles, colorful fur, long nails, etc. They were very intriguing to look at and had a lot of effort put into them. I also really love the look of the sets too which were gorgeously rendered and looked really unique. The human character designs themselves were passable. Some of them looked good while others looked a little bit odd and looked a bit standard. Nothing much else to say about them. Speaking of the characters, I will say that I did like the character of Steve. I think the idea of him wanting to be a dancer was funny and Will Arnett does a decent job performing him. Winnie annoyed me, however. She has so much energy that it got a little irritating after a while and I didn't really see a lot of growth in her character as I didn't see the development with her as I did with Steve. Not to mention, she really felt more bossy than motivational at times and that she didn't have a lot of personality behind her besides just being a coach and the daughter of a great monster wrestling coach. The villain Tentacular is a generic baddy who is caught up in his fortune and fame and his whole motivation for why he does what he does makes not a lot of sense. It's just uncreative. The other monsters who are on screen for the little run time they have are fun to watch though, but I do wish they got a bit more screen time than they got since they aren't on screen as much as they are.
Honestly, "Rumble" is not a very good animated film. Despite some decent animation and one good main character, the story felt really derivative and most of the characters did little to impress me. This is really not a good animated film and I don't exactly recommend going out of your way to getting a Paramount+ account to watch it. There's a lot of great animated films about underdogs rising to the top that is out there, but this one is sadly not one of them.