Dreamworks 1: The Boss Baby

So I announced a few days ago that I am going to be starting a Dreamworks series of reviews. In that post I gave a schedule for the reviews because I am not going to review them chronologically. However, I haven’t been able to post my Shrek review yet so I am making a change and having their latest release The Boss Baby as my first in the series. You guys all know how little I was looking forward to The Boss Baby, so let’s tear off this band-aid and talk about it.

The Boss Baby is extremely loosely based on a picture book by Marla Frazee. Since seeing it I’ve been trying to imagine the board meeting where this concept was pitched. “We are going to make a movie about a baby that’s a boss. It will be a big hit”. These people are going to devote years of effort and millions of dollars and yet somehow they decide a talking baby movie is a great idea? How does that happen?

Anyway, how does the movie turn out? There are positives: the lead character of The Boss Baby is a little boy named Tim who leads an idealistic life with a wild imagination. Occasionally the movie will dive into this imagination and those segments are bright, colorful and a lot of fun.

The animation on the whole is as good as we have come to expect from Dreamworks. I also enjoyed the music from Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro and there are a few nice moments of emotion between the two brothers.

You see little Tim’s ideal world is disrupted by a new baby brother who is delivered in a taxi cab, wears a suit and talks like Alec Baldwin. Tim’s parents are completely fine with their baby looking like this and arriving in this way, which is odd. It is such a strange way to start off a movie but it gets even stranger.

It turns out that in the world of this movie babies are made on an assembly line with some going to families and others to “management”. The lucky chosen babies for Baby Corp are taken directly from the assembly line to a cubicle in a vast office building where they will spend the whole of their lives. This seemed incredibly sad to me. I hated corporate work-life so much that I can’t imagine being stuck in a cubicle from the time you are born and never being mothered or loved. All they want is the great corner office. This felt sooooo strange coming from a baby. And this is never really resolved in the film. At the end Baby Corp still exists and the babies are still working in those cubicles…Yikes

A lot of the appeal of this film will depend on how funny you think it is to see Alec Baldwin take his Jack Donaghy shtick from 30 Rock into a baby. There are a few decent laughs but for me it was more annoying than humorous. At the very least it is extremely repetitive and the only other humor is of the toilet variety.

The other weird aspect of The Boss Baby is the idea of babies competing with puppies for love. At one point in the film, Boss Baby presents the babies with a chart showing babies losing love to puppies and how that is hurting the bottom line of Baby Corp. His goal is to spy on Tim’s parents who work for Puppy Corp and find out about a new breed they are releasing.

On one level this plot could be effective as children often fear losing love of their parents when a new sibling comes into the picture. Unfortunately here the wrong message is shown because a finite or limited amount of love is shown and never really resolved by the film. In real life of course, love doesn’t have limits. We can love 2 kids and then we get another and we can love 3. Love expands that way. So the idea that puppies will steal love from babies is just not true and could be kind of confusing for kids. Children need to know there is plenty of love for them not that there are limits.

But all of that wouldn’t matter if it was funny or engaging in other ways but The Boss Baby just isn’t. It quickly falls into a poorly executed Toy Story/Secret Life of Pets copy. After all, you have the main character leading the perfect life and then the newcomer disrupting it. They hate each other and then must learn to work together. Sound familiar…

Particularly the last 30 minutes go completely off the rails with a boring villain, chases, races, and a trip to Vegas. It just doesn’t work and becomes pretty generic and boring.

Here is my youtube review. I would really appreciate it if you gave it a like or subscribed to my channel if you haven’t yet:

But I don’t know if I could ever personally get over the weird premise and a baby that’s a boss. It’s just not for me. If the trailers appeal to you then maybe you will enjoy it. I definitely think it goes with Home and Shark Tale as one of the worst Dreamworks films.

Overall Grade- D+ and yes I’d rather watch Rock Dog than this…Get it together Dreamworks!!

 

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I’m Depressed About 2017 Animation

Since I started this blog in 2014 I have had a goal to see every animated film released in the year. For the most part this has been an awesome experience with even the bad films giving some context to help really appreciate the good.

But I’m seriously debating about whether I should reconsider my goal for 2017. 2016 has been a stellar year for animation with great films coming from big studios and indies alike.

2017 what are we getting…

Yes, I get it. Any movie can be good but a talking mafia baby movie? It just sounds so awful and the trailer was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s honestly reminding me of 9 Lives but less creative and the animation looks atrocious. It seems like an SNL skit of a bad movie come to life. It reminded me of the Jack and Jill trailer where you just sit baffled at how this actually is happening. I mean who saw Baby Geniuses and thought ‘we need that in 2017’ but make him a mob boss baby? And can we put that person in jail?

And what else do we have to look forward too? (heavy sarcasm in that sentence)

Well, really only 3 films right now. I am looking forward to Coco from Pixar. It’s a musical with a Day of the Dead theme and that has huge potential for creativity. (And yes they have done The Book of Life but I think if we have a million Christmas movies we can have more than one Day of the Dead movie).

I am also looking forward to Lego Batman as I loved The Lego Movie and the trailers were amazing.

The Breadwinner from the studio that brought us Song of the Sea has potential and My Little Pony could actually be a commercially successful 2D film and I really like the Friendship is Magic TV show.

I also don’t hate the Cars movies like some so Cars 3 could be good. I’m hoping it will be better than Cars 2, which I don’t hate but don’t love either. I mean it is kind of sad when Cars 3 is one of my more hopeful entries of the year…

So really I have Lego Batman, Coco and Breadwinner in the excited for camp. My Little Pony and Cars 3 in the ‘I hope it will be good’ camp. Not much to hang my hat on for the year…

That’s about all the good I have to say. Let’s go over some of the other gems that have me depressed. In addition to Boss Baby we have:

Blazing Samurai- which has a giant cats butt on the poster and from the team that brought us the recent bomb Max Steel..

Captain Underpants- yes the studio that once brought us Prince of Egypt has sunk to talking babies and a Captain Underpants movie. I’m depressed

Ferdinand- I don’t know if this will really happen in 2017. We haven’t seen any concept art or a poster or anything about it

Despicable Me 3- You guys know how much I dislike the minions and their yellow annoyingness all over everything. Now we get another entry in the highly overrated Despicable Me series

Emoji Movie: Express Yourself- Yes the horrors continue with the emoji movie. We have a character in a major studio animated film named Poop Daddy. Let that sink in for a second. Plus the female character Jailbreak is a complete copy of Lego Movie’s Wyldstyle

Lego Ninjago Movie- The short for this before Storks was completely forgettable and lame. It seriously lessened any enthusiasm I was feeling for this movie.

Nut Job 2- The original was horrible and so the fact this sequel is happening brings me even more into depression. And it was supposed to come out in 2016 which isn’t a good sign

Smurfs: the Lost Village- This has potential but I’m not a fan of Sony Animation in general and I hated the 2 recent live action films.

The Star- This is evidently a nativity movie but I don’t know much about it  I must admit. I guess it could be good.

So yeah, forgive me while I go into a corner and cry at what I have to look forward to in 2017…Sure there may be a few pleasant surprises in there but right now I am feeling extremely discouraged about it.

But then when Kubo and the 2 Strings makes 67 million and Ice Age 5 makes 404 million worldwide I guess we get the movies we deserve.

sad-mickey