Plot: What’s it about?
I’ll come right out and say it, I’d not heard of or read any of the children’s book series that this film was based on. I know, I know…it’s perplexing isn’t it? A movie reviewer in his 40’s with kids in their late 20’s isn’t up to snuff with the current kids book series. Kidding aside, I’m still a sucker for a good animated film as most work well for adults and their kids. That and if you consider how much work it takes to make a feature-length film, I’m always about giving them a chance. Add to that, The Bad Guys seems to hint at the fact that being bad can feel pretty good sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think kids are going to watch this and turn to a life of crime, the characters do have redeeming qualities, but this isn’t your average Pixar movie. In fact, it’s not a Pixar movie at all. Let’s dive in.
We meet a group of animals that are generally seen by the public as, well, scary. The leader of the pack is Wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell) who has Snake (voiced by Marc Maron), Tarantula (voiced by Awkwafina), Shark (voiced by Craig Robinson), and Piranha (voiced by Anthony Ramos). They’re thieves and they take great pride in robbing banks and stealing things. Wolf has a new plan for the group and wants to steal an award meant for Prof. Marmalade (voiced by Richard Ayoade) it will demonstrate their skills as thieves. Things don’t go according to plan (they never do) and rather than sending them to jail, Prof. Marmalade has a suggestion: if he can train them to become good, it might merit them a pardon from Foxington (voiced by Zazie Beets). She reluctantly agrees. Wolf and the gang, however, see this as an opportunity to get away with everything and perhaps still snatch the award after all. But…will they?
I have to admit that it was a bit refreshing to see an animated movie like this. It’s not exactly glorifying a criminal lifestyle, but these aren’t the most moral characters (animals?) around, either. And I’ll say that I’m not so enthralled with the film that I’ll go read any of the books, but I have to imagine that any book series that’s sold over a million copies and spent over 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list is doing something right. As usual, there’s a bevy of top notch vocal talent involved (I’ve never understood why they need A-List actors to simply do voices) led by Sam Rockwell. The unusual, slick type of animation is perfect for this film as well, it really sets the tone and mood. Let’s face it, for those of us that like to watch people or characters do “bad” things, this has a certain type of voyeuristic characteristic that might appeal to a larger audience.
Video: How’s it look?
Ok, if it’s not evident by now that any computer-animated film is going to look amazing on your 4K TV then I don’t know what to tell you. Be it Pixar, Dreamworks or any of the other studios out there; it’ll look amazing. The film features a style of animation that’s certainly…unique. If you can imagine Into the Spider-Verse, it’s not exactly like that, but it’s also non-traditional. What can I say? Colors pop. Detail is razor sharp. Contrast is strong and just about every visible part of the color spectrum is represented here. The 2.39:1 AVC image simply looks so good you feel you can reach out and touch it. But don’t, though, you’ll just smudge your TV and then you’ll have to clean it. You’ve been warned.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Generally speaking, the buyer has to go with the 4K version to experience the Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Not here. This version features a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Suffice it to say that no matter which one you choose, the sound is robust. All of the actors’ voices are clearly and faithfully represented, though I did catch a bit more “action” on the Atmos mix. It’s a busy and dizzying soundstage that’s sure to please and don’t forget to turn it up – this one keeps the speakers quite active for the duration.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Feature Commentary with Director Pierre Perifel, Producer Damon Ross, Head of Story Nelson Yokota, Head of Character Animation JP Sans, and Production Designer Luc Desmarchelier.
- All-New Original Short “Maraschino Ruby” – In this original DreamWorks animated short, The Bad Guys are at it again, but not in the way you think. They’ve gone good! Find out what happens to the team after they go rogue in this sweet original short.
- Deleted Scenes
- Original opening
- Snake Attack
- Extra Secret Base Tour
- You Can’t Fake Good
- Post Credits: Scientist Button
- Devise the Plan: Making The Bad Guys – From book to storyboard to the silver screen, join the cast and filmmakers as they devise how to bring The Bad Guys to life.
- Assemble the Crew– Go face to face with the voices behind our favorite animated bad guys – Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, Ms. Tarantula & Mr. Piranha.
- It’s Showtime: Cast Table Read – Teamwork is the ultimate ingredient in pulling off a job without a hitch. now that they’ve agreed on the plan, it’s time to bring the cast of The Bad Guys together for their first table read.
- Snake’s Frozen Pop Shop – Want to learn how to make your own version of Mr. Snake’s favorite frozen pops? With these easy recipes, you’ll be on your way to chill-ville in no time. Want to go the extra mile? Create your own frozen pop disguises.
- From the Drawing Room – Learn step by step from The Bad Guys head of story, Nelson Yokota, how you can create your very own storyboard and draw the film’s main characters
- How To Storyboard
- How To Draw Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Shark, Ms. Tarantula, Mr. Piranha
The Bottom Line
There was a built-in audience with The Bad Guys, so the film had that going for it. Adapting Aaron Blabey’s children’s book series into a feature-length film probably had lofty expectations. But, they succeeded. It works on all levels and I found it entertaining. Universal’s disc, of course, looks and sounds great.