A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
To improve in an activity that doesn't interest you, mix it up with an activity you do enjoy. Offers the insight that some wrestling matches are real and some are not (i.e. they have planned outcomes).
Blaze your own path. To succeed, you must put in the work.
Positive Role Models
Winnie is a fantastic role model and example of perseverance. When everyone in her town is willing to give up, she takes it upon herself to find a solution and in doing so finds her calling. She's a confident teen who's aspiring to being a coach in a male-dominated field; she believes in herself, offers great analysis, and refuses to be dismissed. Winnie's mother is loving and supportive. Once Steve starts to truly work with Winnie, their teamwork yields success.
Positive gender and racial diversity in both the animated characters and voice-over cast. Teen main character and her mother are people of color (their ethnicity is never specified). The intimidating boss of an underground wrestling operation is female, as are many of Steve's tough wrestling competitors. Steve is less concerned with muscle and aggression and loves to dance, which counters common gender stereotypes.
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Violence & Scariness
Slapstick cartoon wrestling inside the ring. During a match, a folding chair is thrown and (comically) hits someone in the stands, who at the end of the film says "I'm OK, for those who were worried!" Wrestlers are oversized monsters, but only the menacing boss who issues threats while filing her sharp talons is at all scary. A flash to a location viewers are told is scary is delivered in a funny way. Some taunting. The story begins nine years after the deaths of three legendary wrestling figures, so there's a theme of loss, but characters are no longer grieving.
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"Oh my G-d." A character shouts "holy!" and the film cuts to someone else saying "guacamole." Taunts/rude "smack talk" between competitors, played for humor.
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Products & Purchases
The movie was produced with the involvement of WWE, which has a clear business interest in promoting wrestling/recruiting new fans, and it features several of their stars in voice roles.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rumble is a slapstick animated wrestling comedy (produced by WWE Studios, among others) featuring giant but largely not scary monsters. With very little iffy content, it transforms and pokes fun at what may worry some parents about the sport. Because the wrestlers are large, unrealistic creatures, they seem much more likely to be able to endure the hard hits and pile drivers that happen in the ring. Some characters, including muscle-bound champion Tentacular (voiced with relish by Terry Crews), have pretty oversized egos and exchange over-the-top smack talk. By contrast, the main characters -- human teen Winnie (Geraldine Viswanathan) and underdog monster Steve (Will Arnett) -- are humble, demonstrating strengths like perseverance. What all three have in common, though, is trying to figure out how to step out of the shadow of former legends in their sport who were idolized in their city. The story begins nine years after deaths of these big names, so there is a theme of loss, but characters are no longer grieving. There's notable positive diversity throughout, including strong, smart women and people of color. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With a solid story, funny script, encouraging message, and great voice cast, this animated wrestling comedy is a knock out. Co-producer WWE Studios is no stranger to promoting the World Wrestling Entertainment brand -- they've been involved in everything from Christmas romcoms and faith-based films to the more expected actioners -- but most of it has been down for the count. And their previous animation plays have been to co-opt legacy cartoon brands like Scooby-Doo! or The Jetsons. With Rumble, WWE Studios steps out of the shadow of these animated icons and comes into their own. It's fascinating, because the studio's story is analogous to Winnie and Steve's: They've grown up watching from the wings, being taught by those in the trenches -- and in this first solo effort, they put their own unique stamp on a comedy adventure for kids that really works. It probably helps that they collaborated with more experienced partners, including Paramount Animation, Walden Media, and Reel FX. Screenwriter Matt Lieberman is a proven entity, too, having written recent crowd pleasers Scoob!, The Christmas Chronicles, and Free Guy. And while Hamish Grieve is a first-time director, he's been in a creative leadership role at DreamWorks Animation, so it wasn't exactly a gamble. But whether WWE came in at the end or the beginning, it's likely that it's the studio that will end up being the most associated with this wrestling movie, since it features several of their stars.
Clever storytelling choices allow the folks behind WWE to have some fun at their own expense while leaving breadcrumbs for families to have a conversation about the nature of WWE style pro-wrestling. For starters, it addresses that some matches have predetermined outcomes. Tentacular is a WWE-style "heel" who self-aggrandizes by talking about himself in the third person. And the plot winks at the fancy footwork that goes into pro wrestling matches by having Steve implement actual dance choreography. Plus, when your wrestlers are giant monsters, it's certainly a lot less worrisome (and imitable) when one chokeslams another. Of course, the WWE makes movies as a brand extension, a promotional vehicle for their athletes (WWE stars Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch, and Joe Anoa'i voice characters), and to recruit new fans -- so, in a sense, it's a bit of a commercial. But the expert filmmaking team helps guide the end results to create a feel-good sports film, proving that the WWE is finally ready (yes, to Rumble).
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.