*I mean, whatever…
After a lifetime of legendary heists, notorious criminals Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Shark and Ms. Tarantula are finally caught. To avoid a prison sentence, the animal outlaws must pull off their most challenging con yet — becoming model citizens. Under the tutelage of their mentor, Professor Marmalade, the dubious gang sets out to fool the world that they’re turning good.
“We may be bad, but we’re so good at it!”
The Animation train rolls on and we have our first new DreamWorks movie of the year. We have not had a new one since last summer when we had SPIRIT UNTAMED and THE BOSS BABY: THE FAMILY BUSINESS back to back. I remember talking in my last few reviews of them though that they need more original stories and not just sequels. THE BAD GUYS is a new original story for them (with a chance to be a franchise of course), that stems from a line of popular children’s books. The story is fun and different and gives us a different animation style than we usually see from the company.
I am talking too much up here though, lets get to the ratings!
Animation – B+
As I said it is not your typical DreamWorks animation. Usually you get the bubbly faces and the big colors like MADAGASCAR, SHREK, KUNG FU PANDA and others. Here it is a much more sleek style, almost feels hand drawn, and completely fits the tone of the movie. The whole movie almost had a yellowish tint and I cannot describe it but it all felt like it worked for this particular story. It felt like in the past DreamWorks had their style and made their movies fit that style. This time it feels like they adapted that and hopefully we see more of that moving forward.
Voice Cast – B
I actually thought the voices here were fantastic, however a lot of the voices we have heard in movies recently. It is interesting that Sam Rockwell has done 3 straight movies now with just voicework, after he just won an Oscar. Oh and did we not just hear Awkwafina’s super distinct voice in RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON? This is also Craig Robinson’s third piece of voicework in the last few years, so they are not breaking new ground for any of these people. But everyone does give great performances so it is hard to fault them. Shoutout to Richard Ayoade and Zazie Beetz though because they brought really fun and memorable performances to their roles.
Music – B+
There is a solid Daniel Pemberton score here that has major Noir vibes to match the tone. We also get a couple original songs, notably a song called Good Tonight sung by the great Anthony Ramos (Please go watch IN THE HEIGHTS). That song is a banger and actually ended up being really fun when sung in the movie.
Story – B-
The story is basically one long con/heist movie. A little bit of OCEANS 11 and a mix of DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS. The Bad Guys, which are basically animals we all are scared of, are notorious criminals but in order to pull off a big job they need to figure out how to be good. Simple premise, but there is so much hijinx and fun twists throughout that it keeps you engaged. All the characters get to shine and the villain, which I will not spoil, is incredibly hateable.
*A couple other tidbits
- The movie does stall just a bit in the middle.
- If the Spider can go into berserker mode, why did she not do that to begin with.
I wanted DreamWorks to make more original movies and we got it. I had a lot of fun with this one and I think kids and parents can both enjoy it. I also think if they want to do more of these they can really go any direction they want to.
*You can find my 2022 Movie Rankings here.
*You can find my DreamWorks Animation Rankings here.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.
*You can follow my Letterboxd account here.