CRITICAL – The British studio Locksmith animation delivers an uplifting and deeper-than-first animated film about the ubiquity of small, connected robots that threaten to make children’s lives selfish and lonely.
Ron unlocks, which leaves opportunely on the eve of the All Saints’ Day holidays, turns out to be a nice surprise! Funny, rhythmic, beautifully animated, this playful animated film signed by a British animation studio, Locksmith Animation (Christmas mission: the adventures of the Christmas family) manages to distract children, while putting their finger on a problem that is increasingly present in 2021, especially after 18 months of confinement: the omnipresence of social networks and screens in the daily life of children from 6 to 15 years old. ..
The story ? In the near future, a company called Bubble has marketed small robots, the B.Bots connected to each other, intended for children. These ultra-resistant egg-shaped digital companions (much like the robot Eve in Wall-E) now populate the schools. Their mission is their mantra: “Let’s make friends with digital technology”.
In middle school, the B.Bots are recharged on specific platforms, before the children reactivate them during recess. All the kids have these little technological marvels except the hero Barney. Lonely boy, Barney Pudowski lives in a modest family of Russian origin, a little eccentric, but very funny. Her widowed father tries to make ends meet by selling gadgets over the phone.
Her grandmother Donka acts as a surrogate mom and keeps pulling her ears. She’s the one who worries that young Barney would rather collect stones than make friends at school.
The day of his birthday Barney thinks that he will finally receive the famous B. Bot which will finally be able to allow him to make friends. At first, her father offers her something quite different. But soon understanding his son’s sadness, he manages to offer him a little late a robot “fallen from the truck” which he bought at a low price from an unscrupulous transporter.
Funny and twists
The kid manages to turn on the faulty robot. But this B.Bot cannot connect to the Cloud of the Bubble platform to download the digital friendship algorithm concocted by Mark, the young designer of Bubble. The little robot will then have to get to know his child on his own to accomplish his initial mission. He carries out his mission like a police investigation.
With lots of fun and twists, Ron Unlock takes spectators to the heart of a deeper adventure than it seems. Under its entertaining film airs, the cartoon reflects on the constant presence of social networks and screens in the lives of children in 2021.
A frontal criticism of Gafam
Little spectators finally understand between the (program) lines that even the most sophisticated devices in the world will never replace a true friend of flesh and blood. The three directors of the film Jean-Philippe Vine, Sara Smith and Octavio Rodriguez do not spare their frontal and explicit criticism of Gafam (acronym of the five giants of the Web, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft).
They laugh at Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and a few other digital business owners who tend to boil down to human life as a race for data.
What we also see in Ron Unlockis that social networks would even tend to isolate children in a bubble of depressing and cruel loneliness! Even if the slightly benevolent morality does not darken the picture too much, we come out of the film with the impression that the children will still have grasped the message. And we even establish some bridges with The Mitchell against the machines, another recent animated film that tackled a fairly similar subject.