It’s clear we’re solely now seeing the seismic, industry-wide influence that Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse has had. Since that movie’s launch in 2018, animated movies in Hollywood have realized to be bolder, weirder and extra experimental. The Unhealthy Guys isn’t any Spider-Verse, but it surely’s a captivating instance of a serious studio (on this case, DreamWorks) making some courageous artistic selections they may not have made just some years beforehand.
The primary and most blatant alternative is the fashion of animation: as with Spider-Verse, The Mitchells Vs The Machines or Arcane earlier than it, The Unhealthy Guys takes a stunning 3D-but-with-a-2D-feel strategy, choosing stylisation over realism. It offers the movie a extra handmade look than the plasticky sheen of normal CG fare. In distinction to the sorts of animation that might usually emerge from the Hollywood machine, this appears intentionally designed.
If the aesthetic feels wealthy and distinctive, it’s a disgrace, then, that the plot and characters run a bit skinny. Enjoying, naturally, on heist-movie tropes — there’s a brassy rating from Daniel Pemberton, and freeze-frame titles introducing the furry solid — it’s actually a reasonably fundamental story (tailored from the kids’s graphic novels of the identical identify by Aaron Blabey) with some pretty fundamental classes baked in. The baddies are studying the way to change into goodies — that’s principally it. Inside that, there’s a magpie’s nest of latest influences — the slick-talking animals of Zootropolis, the unhealthy guys’ help group from Wreck-It Ralph — that makes it exhausting for this to not really feel a tad by-product. In contrast to these movies, which had clearly outlined in-universe guidelines, it’s additionally by no means satisfactorily explored why our antiheroes inhabit a world the place people and speaking animals combine, past the plain causes that it’s going for a youthful target market.
Nonetheless, it’s a universe that manages to event some genuinely witty visible comedy: a military of hypnotised guinea pigs, for instance, or the piranha who farts when he lies, or the snake compelled to ineffectually put on handcuffs on its neck. The character animation is quick and humorous, hardly ever stopping for breath and discovering humour in small particulars. The voice solid make an honest stab, too — particularly Sam Rockwell as gang chief Mr. Wolf, whose efficiency within the recording sales space is effortlessly cool and pleasingly naturalistic. The Unhealthy Guys gained’t fairly depart a seismic, industry-wide influence on animation, however then, few can — if that is what main studios are going to be pumping out now, it’s an excellent signal.