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The animated heist movie The Bad Guys steals from all the right places

The two big signatures of DreamWorks Animation productions are their crazy action sequences and “adult” pop culture references. Not all of his movies feature both, although many of them do – it’s a studio boss babyturns into a pompous, pompous comedy from a fictional children’s book about sibling rivalry. Glengarry Glen Ross references and the final sequel, a highly destructive, explosive-laden vehicle chase.

New DreamWorks cartoon bad guys it’s also based on a number of children’s books and seems to follow a similarly noisy pattern: pulp Fiction or something from Steven Soderbergh that leads straight to yes, a loud car chase. And of course Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell) addresses the audience directly and updates: What would DreamWorks movies be like without the narration in the first 10 minutes?

Still, since this is a heist movie, director Pierre Perifel knows it’s the details that matter. That opening scene is Mr. Wolf and his best friend, Mr. Snake (Marc Maron) meets Mr. pulp Fiction Removing “Misirlou” from the soundtrack or talking about Royale with Cheese. Instead, the scene takes time, allowing the characters to play around in a single animated “shot”, before revealing all of the restaurant staff and customers are hiding off-screen as the dreaded thugs finish eating. Virtual camera Mr. Kurt and Mr. Snake across the street where they knocked over a bank.

Image: DreamWorks

The car-chasing frenzy that follows is fermented with an intentionally choppy and tangled animation style. The character designs look vaguely three-dimensional, but with simpler, flatter eyes; a texture more like paint for skin and fur; and graphic comic highlights in his most extreme moves. They look drawn rather than expensively created.

As with previous adult heist films, the style goes a long way in portraying a story that may sound familiar to cartoon fans young and old. Mr. Kurt and Mr. Snake is part of an infamous criminal gang – also Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina), Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos) and Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) – finally tries to move on. In other words, these are bad guys who are unexpectedly given the opportunity to improve. my favorite evil) and breaking away from the villain role society has assigned them (as is) Wreck Ralph) based on harmful stereotypes regarding animal characteristics (as is) zoo). This is not the first time DreamWorks has come to this point; your movie mega intelligence He has a super villain who discovers the good in him.

simply remove bad guys However, from the context of a superhero/villain, it helps to distinguish it from many of its predecessors. Perifel seems really interested in taking a heist/whims photo for the kids, all the downsides and twists that this entails. Mr. Wolf has doubts about whether he should continue to lead a life of crime, but initially considering the possibilities of future attack, when he convinces Governor Foxington (Zazie Beetz) to entrust his captured gang to the custody of renowned philanthropist Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) for reform. . Other characters have their own hidden agendas.

These reversals and betrayals take place in a bizarre hybrid setting where humans and some animals interact on an equal social basis. (There are also smaller animals like guinea pigs and kittens that can’t talk or walk upright.) bad guys unpredictable extravagance as it adapts heist roles for cartoon animals. Some novelties are clever (Mr. Snake changes his skin to change his clothes) and some are absurdly fun (Mr. Shark, the biggest and least secretive of the Pack, is the designated master of disguises).

Mr.  Shark and Mr.  Wolf survives a massive explosion in The Bad Guys

Image: DreamWorks

bad guys‘ adult movie imitation isn’t always perfect. Malicious banter attempts between Mr. Wolf and Governor Foxington are fine – theoretically cute rather than colloquially sharp. But with the playful implications of Rockwell’s distinctive tones, it’s easy. (Real-life masterful dance moves also survive the transition to animation.) Maron is also the grumpy and human-hating Mr. snake.

Everything is very light and after recent victories turns red and Fascination From two different branches of Disney, bad guys It might well reinforce DreamWorks’ B-team status in contemporary American animation, where the show is the norm and there’s some emotional growth. But the best DreamWorks illustrations come to life when they come out of Disney formulas, rather than deliberately chasing or tampering with them. Mistake bad guys it’s like other movies, playing them gracefully with his own sensibility and energy.

bad guys In theaters April 22.


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The animated heist movie The Bad Guys steals from all the right places

Two major signatures of DreamWorks Animation productions are frenetic action sequences and “adult” pop-culture references. Not all their movies heavily feature both, though many do — this is a studio that turned The Boss Baby, a fanciful children’s picture book about sibling rivalry, into a yammering, scattered comedy with Glengarry Glen Ross references and, in its recent sequel, an explosives-laden, highly destructive vehicle chase.
The new DreamWorks cartoon The Bad Guys is also based on a series of children’s books, and it seems to follow a similarly noisy pattern: It has an opening scene derived from Pulp Fiction or something out of Steven Soderbergh, leading straight into, yes, a raucous car chase. And of course, Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell) gets the audience up to speed by addressing them directly: What would DreamWorks movies be without narrated exposition in the first 10 minutes?
And yet, since this is a heist movie, director Pierre Perifel knows it’s the details that matter. That opening scene, where Mr. Wolf and his best friend Mr. Snake (Marc Maron) chat in a diner about Mr. Snake’s hatred of birthdays and why guinea pigs taste so good, doesn’t reference Pulp Fiction by whipping out “Misirlou” on the soundtrack or mentioning the Royale with Cheese. Instead, the scene takes its time, letting the characters banter before revealing, in a single animated “take,” that the diner staff’s and patrons have all been cowering off-screen as the fearsome bad guys finish eating. The virtual camera then follows Mr. Wolf and Mr. Snake across the street, where they knock over a bank.

Image: DreamWorks
The freneticism of the ensuing car chase is leavened by the intentionally choppy, mix-and-match animation style. The characters’ designs look vaguely three-dimensional, but with simpler, flatter eyes; a more paint-like texture for skin and fur; and comic book-esque graphic accents on their more extreme motions. They look drawn, rather than expensively rendered.
As with the more grown-up heist movies that precede it, the style goes a long way toward enlivening a story that may seem familiar to cartoon fans young and old. Mr. Wolf and Mr. Snake are part of a notorious criminal gang — also including Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina), Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), and Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) — that eventually attempts to go straight. In other words, these are bad guys who are unexpectedly given the opportunity to improve themselves (like in Despicable Me) and break out of the villainous role that society assigned them (like in Wreck-It Ralph) based on the harmful stereotypes of their animal characteristics (like in Zootopia). This isn’t even the first time DreamWorks has gone to this well; its movie Megamind features a supervillain discovering his inner goodness.
Simply removing The Bad Guys from a superhero/supervillain context, however, helps distinguish it from its many predecessors. Perifel really does seem interested in making a kid-friendly heist/caper picture, with all the cons and twists that entails. Mr. Wolf experiences doubt over whether he should continue to pursue a life of crime, but when he initially convinces Governor Foxington (Zazie Beetz) to release his captured gang into the custody of known philanthropist Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade) to be reformed, he has future heisting possibilities in mind. Other characters have secret agendas of their own.
These reversals and double-crosses are all set in a bizarre hybrid environment where humans and some animals interact on equal social footing. (There are still smaller animals, like guinea pigs and kittens, who don’t speak or walk upright.) This not fully realized world, where side characters scarcely seem to exist outside the background of various capers, lends The Bad Guys an unpredictable whimsicality as it adapts heist roles for cartoon animals. Some of the innovations are clever (Mr. Snake sheds his skin to switch outfits), and some are amusingly absurd (Mr. Shark, the largest and least discreet of the group, is the designated master of disguise).

Image: DreamWorks
The Bad Guys’ imitation of grown-up movies isn’t always pitch-perfect. The attempts at sly banter between Mr. Wolf and Governor Foxington are just OK — more theoretically cute than conversationally sharp. It goes down easy, though, with the playful insinuation of Rockwell’s distinctive vocal tones. (His dexterous real-life dance moves survive the transition to animation, too.) Maron also does fine work as the gruff, misanthropic Mr. Snake.
It’s all pretty lightweight stuff, and after recent mainstream triumphs like Turning Red and Encanto from two different arms of Disney, The Bad Guys may well shore up DreamWorks’ status as the B-squad of contemporary American animation, where spectacle is the default and emotional growth is a little pat. But the better DreamWorks cartoons come alive when they’re liberated from Disney formulas, rather than chasing after or self-consciously spoofing them. Even when The Bad Guys resembles other movies, it’s stealing from them gracefully, with its own sensibility and energy.
The Bad Guys debuts in theaters on April 22.

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