“Bad guys”: movie review

The latest DreamWorks movies have amazing action scenes, great visuals and well-defined characters.

*Brake alert*

“The Bad Guys” is one of the latest projects from DreamWorks Studios, the same studio that brought us the “Kung Fu Panda” and “Shrek” quartet. Unlike their previous films, “The Bad Guys” is not based on any originally produced franchises. This fresh start for DreamWorks creates a unique opportunity to leave behind an extended show and highly refined sequential character arcs often found in its long-running franchises.

The film is based on the children’s book series of the same name by Australian author Aaron Blaby, and is best described as a child-friendly version of “Ocean’s Eleven” without its hilarious humor and very nice guys. Think “the first family spy movie” or “a spy movie that’s apolitical but still touches some heartstrings” with a timeless array of valuable messages that DreamsWorks are known to address in their films.

“The Bad Guys” takes the classic five-person formula and replaces the characters with different animals, its surprisingly fun to see their faltering characters on screen. The film gives viewers the opportunity to enjoy the usual noir formula in a carefree and simple way that conveys the excitement of the James Bond films without having to cover their eyes.

The hero at the beginning of the story is a sharply dressed, boot-clad guinea pig named Professor Robert Marmalade IV. He’s a wealthy philanthropist who tries hard to get the bad guys to turn into the good in their own way. The marmalade creates thematic dynamics to bring about the more mature elements of the story.

The five characters in this movie are the real bread and butter for what this movie is about. Mr. Wolf, Mr. Shark, Mrs. Tarantula, and Mr. Piranha are a wonderful cast of well-voiced characters who make their character stand out thanks to their amazing animation and unique visual style in this movie.

The story centers on the relationship between Mr. Wolf and Mr. Snake and how they maintain their friendship together throughout the film as Marmalade tries to turn Mr. Wolf against them by becoming morally superior to his friends and untangling them to realize his own dream. Evil plans are later revealed in the movie. Who was to steal all the charitable money he had collected and bring it to himself and frame the bad guys for it until they fell.

Mr. Wolf’s story is unexpected. Mr. Wolf likes to be bad with his friends, but after touring with an old lady during a red carpet party heist, Wolf feels a sense of pleasure in his wagging tail for doing something really good. This event stirs up Mr. Wolf’s inner conflict. He has to decide between coming to terms with his newfound “goodness”, trying to pursue a more normal life or putting these new feelings by the wayside to please his friends and continue his path as a world-class thief.

Despite this one novel, “The Bad Guys” tackles some very challenging topics, especially for a children’s animated movie. The idea of ‚Äč‚Äčstereotypes and their boxing by polite society plays a large role in the film, along with the concept of how good and evil are not always black and white concepts that define a person, and how most people have a deep gray area within them for both good and bad.

While watching this movie as an adult, I noticed elements within the movie that I doubt most younger viewers wouldn’t. The movie certainly had some childish moments in the character’s interactions and emotions that were explosive and exaggerated, but the conversations that really took center stage were about whether Mr. Wolf should be honest about his feelings of wanting to feel good sometimes.

Mr. Wolf ends up telling his friends the truth: they make him feel heavy and pressured to get bad. The gang of thieves later meet without Mr. Wolf, and come to the same revelation when Mr. Snake decides to give his one-time bounty to Mr. Shark instead of pestering him with it as he normally does. They all wag their tails with joy when they see and feel good and come to the aid of Mr. Wolf to stop Marmalade’s despicable undisguised plan to steal the money raised for charity.

I couldn’t get rid of the film’s theme; How the deeper aspects of people’s motivations are depicted and how the protagonist and antagonist dynamics are in perpetual conflict. The main characters perfectly symbolize this. Logically, they are our heroes, but in any other story they would be the enemies that frustrate a good hero. Mr. Wolf is the catalyst for the conflict by having his other friends try to reconsider the direction of their lives as thieves despite protesting that there is no way to change them.

On the flip side, the movie had a lot of themes that made it hard to keep track of parts of it, which were exacerbated by the film’s fast-paced action and dialogue. Despite this, the characters were well designed and executed, the narrative was serpentine and the setting was equal parts gritty and flashy in terms of visuals and story.

In the end, the friends come to a compromise and try to be better but still keep the usual stealing now and then. They don’t turn out to be completely good overnight, although they do make an effort to start doing more good deeds. It’s a satisfying result that feels realistic and a good start for characters who didn’t get the chance to be good at first. The movie is one of the best Grand Slam releases DreamWorks has made in a while. On a scale of 1 to 10, this movie deserves an eight.

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