DreamWorks animated film “The Bad Guys” is in theaters, and the film has announced an extension to June 28.
From “Shrek”, “Madagascar”, “Kung Fu Panda”, “How to Train Your Dragon”, “The Croods”, etc. to today’s “The Bad Guys”, DreamWorks often uses a slanted sword and eclectic style. A classic animation shows the audience’s novel imagination and infinite creativity.
This time, can “The Bad Guys” with “Bad Guys” as the protagonist be surprisingly successful like DreamWorks’ previous animations?
How far is “The Bad Guys” from becoming a box office and word-of-mouth hit, and how far is it?
“The Bad Guys” combines the traditional characteristics of DreamWorks animation with some new ideas. It is a breakthrough after the studio has changed its operating strategy.
In 2016, DreamWorks animation was acquired by Universal’s parent company, except for “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”, “The Croods: A New Age”, “Trolls World Tour” which were already in production or preparation before the acquisition, this The studio began to change its operating strategy, mainly producing works with a budget of $30-80 million, such as “The Boss Baby: Family Business”, “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”, “Spirit Untamed”.
The studio that once created the “Kung Fu Panda”, “Shrek”, “Madagascar” series is slowly disappointing animation fans.
The cost of “The Bad Guys” is still not high, and the investment of 70 million US dollars is still a small and medium production in a Hollywood animation with a budget of 150 to 200 million US dollars.
But fortunately, the film still made new ideas at a relatively low cost.
This new one is not the first of DreamWorks, but started from “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” in 2018: using CG animation technology to make hand-drawn animation style.
2021’s critically acclaimed animated series “Arcane” will carry this style forward.
“The Bad Guys” isn’t a big step, on the one hand it’s following the trend, on the other hand it’s not as experimental as “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”, The latter even mimics the lines and large color blocks in the comics.
The traditional side is in the selection of material, “The Bad Guys” is a group of criminals, the continuation of DreamWorks’ unconventional path.
From the day it was established, DreamWorks animation has a relatively alternative style. It likes to play with deconstruction, that is, the kind of prince and princess who fight against Disney’s cliché.
In “Shrek” the princess is with a monster, and the beautiful princess has even turned into a monster.
In “Kung Fu Panda”, the Dragon Warrior is a lazy fat man, “Madagascar” the protagonist escaped from the zoo, and “Shark Tale” tells the story of a gangster under the sea.
Where the film is brilliant
- The character modeling is cute but not characteristic
As I said before, DreamWorks animation has been the opposite of Disney since its inception, and Disney’s animation images are all very cute.
But the characters in the DreamWorks animation are relatively sharp, and you can imagine Shrek the monster, the shark in Shark Tale, the lion and zebra in Madagascar, the family in “The Croods”.
These characters are barely cute, but definitely not cute.
Of course, this kind of personality tradition also makes it difficult for DreamWorks animation characters to make peripheral goods such as dolls.
Wolves, piranhas, spiders, snakes, and sharks aren’t really cute animals, but the design of these characters in “The Bad Guys” looks pretty good, especially the sharks and piranhas are very cute.
Moreover, these shapes combine the characteristics of hand-drawn animation and CG animation, which is a little less greasy and more refreshing.
- The little cartoon exudes a cinephile temperament
The film starts with a tribute to “Pulp Fiction” and ends with “Thelma and Louise”, reflecting the film’s certain cinephile temperament.
“The Bad Guys” deconstructs the traditional Heist Movie, aka the heist movie.
This subgenre of crime films focuses on the planning, execution, and consequences of a heist.
But “The Bad Guys” does the opposite, with the robbery-stealing team instead pretending to be a good guy for the good guy prize.
The description of the robbery and theft process in the film is relatively standard. The team has a clear division of labor. The wolf is the brain, the spider is the hacker and is responsible for the technology, the shark is responsible for makeup and opening up some joints, and the snake uses its body to climb the ventilation duct.
The animation is still quite skilled at presenting this part, reminding you of many similar movies, especially “Ocean’s Eleven”.
There is not only the tension of robbery movies, but also the humor and exaggeration that cartoons should have. Watching a group of animals perform classic robbery scenes, there is an inexplicable sense of joy.
- A comprehensive presentation of French animators
The mainstream animation films in the world today are recognized as the top three in the United States, Japan and France.
No one can shake the number one status of Hollywood. Japanese animation mainly focuses on the hand-painted animation market, while French animation has much less influence in China.
But things have changed in recent years. The French animation studio Fortiche Prod is behind the hit Netflix animated series “Arcane” last year, and “The Bad Guys” director Pierre Perifel happens to be French before joining DreamWorks Animation in 2008. Has been in the French animation industry.
“The Bad Guys” is the directorial debut of Pierre Perifel’s animated feature film. It should be said that the French romance and the industrial standard of DreamWorks animation have been integrated and performed well.
The soul of the film is the 5 main characters – the big bad wolf, the greedy snake, the belly shark, the piranha and the hacker spider, which are very endearing and charming.
Aside from the story itself, that’s what makes “The Bad Guys” most appealing to viewers.
This film is a bit like a combination of “Ocean’s Eight” and “Zootopia”, especially the bathroom, kitchen, red carpet stairs, red laser trap, and of course the “robbery” part of all stealth movies, everything It’s all like the Stealing from the Met Gala part of “Ocean’s Eight”.
The rhythm is also very stable, with a duration of 100 minutes, and there is basically no distraction when watching the movie.
There are many, many unexpected plot twists in the film, but they are not rigid or deliberate, and they fit and complement the whole story.
The picture effect of the finished film is better than that in the trailer. At first, it will make people feel that it is the same, but it will be very interesting when you get used to it.
Full marks for Sam Rockwell’s voice acting.
The great thing about “The Bad Guys” is that several of the characters in “The Bad Guys” are vivid and likable.
The wolf has the best image. After wearing a suit, he has a bit of a playboy demeanor. He has the most ideas and is good at racing. He is a very protagonist.
The snake’s venomous tongue is selfish, and he can’t move when he sees a guinea pig. He is very capable, but he is loyal to the wolf’s friendship. The friendship between the snake and the wolf is also an important emotional clue throughout the film.
But my two favorite characters are the shark and the piranha.
The appearance of two fishes in a movie may seem a bit repetitive, but both characters are eye-catching.
Last year, a shark man appeared in “The Suicide Squad”, and his fierce and naive image has already gained a lot of fans.
“The Bad Guys” made the huge shark mainly responsible for making people easy to deceive, and also engaged in a play where men disguised themselves as children of all living beings, taking the cute image of sharks to a new level.
Piranhas are small in size, but they like to fight fiercely. They are thugs in the team.
However, the biggest feature of the movie’s design for piranhas is that they like to fart, which is equivalent to a walking gas bomb.
In one scene, the spider cracked the security network with poison gas and almost died.
Although this design is cheesy, it is really funny in the movie.
Other characters, like spiders, foxes, guinea pigs, etc., are relatively normal.
What’s more interesting is that “The Bad Guys” has created a world where humans and animals live together. The main characters are animals, and the supporting characters are mostly humans, such as police officers.
It doesn’t make sense, it’s magical, but it’s also fun.
Skilled in American cartoon routines, familiar with the taste of family fun movies.
In terms of characters, the film borrows wolf, poisonous snake, shark, piranha, poisonous spider—five animals with ferocious nature in nature, which clearly conveys the so-called “villain”‘s deep-rooted stereotype in people’s minds. Later, they changed their minds step by step, abandoned evil and turned to good, creating a strong contrast effect.
In the group portrait design, the characters have distinct personalities, and each has a point of laughter.
The protagonist, the big bad wolf, is humorous, affectionate and righteous; the greedy snake is greedy and selfish, cold-blooded and cunning; the beautiful belly shark is ever-changing and plays the shark;
The dubbing group composed of Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Awkwafina, Craig Robinson, and Anthony Ramos also added luster to the shaping of this “Theft Alliance”.
In terms of plot, the bad guys seek approval from the good, while the good guys cannot be judged purely by appearances. The plain but positive theme and the family-like emotions of the film are in line with the relaxed positioning of the film as a family carnival.
Through several reversals in the second half, the idea of breaking through the concept of judging people by appearances that the film wants to express has also been strengthened and presented.
The highlight is the bright design and stimulating visual effects of action scenes such as theft and car chase. Under the tight rhythm and playful mood like the animal version of “Fast and Furious”, the film presents a certain sense of viewing and entertainment.
Inadequacies of the film
The plot direction in the second half of the film is relatively easy to guess. The confrontation between the real villain and the hypocrite, and the discussion of kindness are still relatively routine, and the final reversal is not unexpected.
After all, this is part of the PG-rated movie, and respecting the routine is the best thing to do.
In addition, the overall design of the film is still a bit confusing. The city where the animals live looks like Los Angeles, the governor is a fox, but the sheriff is a human, that is, humans and animals are in the same world.
Not as pure as “Zootopia”, all citizens are all animals.
The biggest question of the film is how to whitewash these criminals and how to become real “good people” after they are released from prison. The director and screenwriter have no answer.
There are slightly fewer 5 characters, and the background stories of each character are also slightly thin.
A little bit about where they came from, how they coexisted with each other, how humans made peace with each other, and how this small group was formed in the first place would give the whole story more weight.
The similarities between the characters and “Zootopia” are indeed quite obvious. There are many reversals. Basically, after seeing the previous scene, the audience will know what to play in the next scene.
The plot design is relatively conventional, and a few turning points are a bit far-fetched.
There are countless animated films that anthropomorphize small animals, and “Zootopia” has brought this type of work to a creative peak.
“The Bad Guys” is a bit of a low-profile version of “Zootopia”, which is also about the entanglement between animals and the inherent impressions of their own race, and even prejudice.
It’s just that “The Bad Guys” focuses on the carnivore side.
The lack of creativity makes the film inevitably feel a little bit wise.
In the process of watching the movie, fans must be able to see the shadow of too many good movies. The opening “Pulp Fiction”, the theme selection and the details are similar to “Despicable Me”, “Ocean’s Eleven”, “Lupin III”, genre The style is like “Zootopia”.
In addition, the outdated routine of the villain’s whitewashing, coupled with a somewhat low-level plot and many blunt reversals, make the film somewhat lacking in creativity and imagination.
In general, in the DreamWorks work sequence, this film can only be regarded as a well-established and passing work. The representative of mass production on the Hollywood animation pipeline, after all, DreamWorks, which can compete with Pixar, has high hopes, and the director this time was once ” Animator for the Kung Fu Panda” series.
If there is no DreamWorks label, perhaps the audience’s psychology will be a little more balanced.
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