Tag: Children’s movies

Movie Review: The Bad Guys


I really liked the animation of The Bad Guys. Parts of it at least. Abandoning the hyper-detailed showboating that’s long been the norm for computer-animated movies, DreamWorks brings us a movie with sleek art where textures like fur and hair accent the character designs rather than dominate them, and textures like scales are simply drawn onto the model. The eyes stand out the most. Instead of glassy doll eyes, they’re nothing more than ovals with black outlines, pupils, and highlights on the pupils. Bob Clampett didn’t need more than that. Things like explosions and dust trails are depicted with clean 2D shapes which will always do the job better than volumetric clouds or whatever is the snazzy tech these days.

The parts I didn’t like were the human characters. I’m convinced computer animation will never create a human that is not to some degree horrifying. Those in The Bad Guys suffer from that disease of modern cartoon design: they’re rounded grotesques with snub noses, bottom-heavy heads, and mouths shaped liked legumes. Despite this, the overall art direction of the picture is a breath of fresh air. It would have given more hope for the state of animation were the trailers ahead of it not the same tired CGI cartoons we’ve seen for the past decade.

Outside of its animation, this is your stock kiddie flick. The titular gang consists of Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Shark, Ms. Tarantula, and their leader, the suave Mr. Wolf. They wear their badness with pride, robbing the rich with no intention of giving to the poor, getting into high-speed chases for the thrill of it. After being publicly called out by the new governor, Diane Foxington, the crew decide to go on their biggest heist: stealing the Golden Dolphin award.

Yes, Virginia, Monsters Do Want to Kill You


hotel transylvanisThe kids dragged me to the latest cartoon cinematic feature, Hotel Transylvania 2, last Friday. (Don’t worry about me; I pulled the old sneak in the water bottle full of wine trick again.) Luckily, I knew the level of quality I was getting into ahead of time as we had previewed Hotel Transylvania 1 at home a few days before going — how else are you going to follow the nuanced plotline of the sequel if you don’t watch the films in order?

Anyway, every once in a while between sips of Chianti, I’d pull out the earbuds reporting my podcast (Ricochet, of course) to get some idea of what was going on in the movie as my kids love to recap the show on the ride home. Aside from the obvious annoying stereotypes — when, oh, when will Hollywood finally leave the hardworking people of Transylvania alone? — I had deeper issues with is the overall plot of this children’s tale.

I’ll grudgingly give a spoiler alert now (if you honestly are in need of a spoiler alert in a film where Steve Buscemi plays a werewolf T-ball coach, we’ll get a drink since you need to get out even more than I do). But the basic gist of Hotel Transylvania 1 and 2 is that monsters and humans are all okay and have just been misunderstanding each other all these centuries.