The Bad Guys

What’s this? An animated film from Dreamworks that I was actually looking forward to, that didn’t have anything do with Dragons or Pandas? This must be a mistake. Dreamworks has been given me trash for years!

The main reason I was a little bit excited about The Bad Guys as a film, we because I knew it was based off of a popular series of graphic novels for kids. I only knew that because I think I own half of them. I haven’t read them, but I heard it was funny. Characters that were perceived as bad, trying to do good, and failing along the way, but hey, at least their heart was in the right place. That seems like a nice story.

Also, after watching the trailer, I enjoyed the animation style they went with. Not a standard CGI, but something maybe inspired by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse. It is kind of like cel-shading, while being very active and distinct. The characters certainly pop.

The last time I cared about a new property from Dreamworks was Home, strangely enough, and that one ended up only being okay.

I can already tell this film will get into some kinky shit.

Set strangely in real life Las Angeles, California, we are in a world with both humans and anthropomorphic animals coexisting together. There are also regular animals I guess, but we won’t talk about them right now.

We are going to talk about a group known entirely as The Bad Guys. Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos), and Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina). Yeah, their names are just their animal name for whatever reason. They are notorious for stealing things, but the newly elected Governor, Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz), decides to announce that she feels bad for the Bad Guys, as they are clearly just misunderstood animals who need help.

Huh? How dare she take that approach with them! Time to steal a really famous award, given out specifically to NICE members of society. This next one is going to Professor Rupert Marmalade IV (Richard Ayoada), a pretty swell guy. Unfortunately, while going for the trophy, Mr. Wolf accidentally is put in a position to…HELP someone. Ugh. And strangely enough, it feels good. It is a feeling he wants again, to chase.

After they get arrested, Mr. Wolf convinces the authorities that they can be taught to be good, and enlist the help of Rupert to show them the way. Mr. Wolf also convinces his friends that they can do it just to have a bigger and better heist later. But Does Mr. Wolf want to actually turn over a new leaf?

Also starring Alex Borstein.

Yep, still looks like a kinky film.

While the animation for The Bad Guys was certainly a plus, the plot is what ends up making this mostly an okay movie. The plot is standard, and pretty obvious, and I am not sure if it is entirely based on the books. This movie serves as an origin film for them I guess, as it is about The Bad Guys when they choose to be bad, and then eventually, choose to be good, whereas the books are about them already trying to be good.

The twists you can see coming, and honestly, most of the conclusions.

And then here is where I can get nitpicky about the world building. This is a world where animals and people coexist as…humanoids. Sure. But I find it uncomfortable that the leads all just have generic names. Mr. or Ms. and their animal name. That is completely ridiculous, because we know there are more Wolves and Sharks in the world, it isn’t just one of each kind. There’s no reason for the generic names, outside of code names for their team, but they literally just have those names no matter what. The only other two main animals have regular names, so there is no reason for that distinction.

On that note, this world also has regular animals. What? Huh? How can that seem to be? The story of Wicked tried to tackle that similar idea, of both bipedal talkative animals along with regular animals, and they did a much better job than this film, because it was just ignored. How are there regular Guinea pigs when there is a main character that is also a Guinea pig. I am uncomfortable with this.

I am also uncomfortable that there are apparently scientists who do testing on animals, when again, see the above point. I believe all the scientists are shown to be human. I definitely am pretty sure every single cop in the movie, of which there are hundreds, is also a human. This film could go into some pretty deep places with this territory, but it is just all background and not important, despite the strange and uncomfortable implications.

Another plus though, is the voice work. I thought Rockwell and Maron knocked it out as the main two villains. I was surprised Ramos and Robinson used very different voices in the movie too. There was an attempt to be a character, not just featuring their normal way of talking. It is great when actors, you know…act.

2 out of 4.