‘The Bad Guys’ Is One Of The Most Welcome Surprises Of 2022’s Field Of New Movies

Courtesy: Universal Pictures/Scholastic Entertainment/Dreamworks Animation

Everyone loves a great heist movie, right?  Okay maybe not everyone, but lots of people do, though.  Thanks to Universal Pictures, Dreamworks Animation and Scholastic Entertainment, audiences of all ages got a great new heist movie this year in the form of the cinematic adaptation of author Aaron Blabey’s The Bad Guys books in the aptly titled movie, The Bad Guys.  This almost two-hour movie is one of the biggest cinematic surprises of 2022.  Having made its theatrical debut April 22, the movie did not last long in theaters, coming home less than two months later to digital and physical platforms June 21.  Why it made the transition so quickly is anyone’s guess.  Its gross ticket sales of more than $96 million managed to finish the movie’s theatrical run in the black.  Regardless of why it was pulled so quickly, that is not necessarily a bad thing.  That is because it meant home audiences who did not want to have to go to the theater would not have to wait that long to finally get to enjoy it in the comfort of their homes.  There is plenty to appreciate about the movie, beginning with its story, which will be discussed shortly.  The work of the movie’s cast is also important to note in terms of the movie’s engagement and entertainment and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted does its own share to keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout this movie.  All things considered they make The Bad Guys a very good movie for the whole family.

Universal Pictures, Scholastic Entertainment, and Dreamworks Animation’s cinematic adaptation of author Aaron Blabey’s The Bad Guys book series is one of the most unsuspecting successes of this year’s theatrical releases.  Its success is due in part to its featured story.  The story stays largely true to its source material, combining elements of the stories in Blabey’s beloved children’s books for an overall story about Mr. Wolf, Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, and Ms. Tarantula turning from bad to good, but still at least being a little bad in the end.  The group’s transformation happens after being arrested early on for a heist that it commits.  Professor Marmalade (played by Richard Ayoade – The IT Crowd, The Watch, The Double) comes in after striking a deal with Diane Foxington (voiced by Zazie Beets – Deadpool 2, Joker, Atlanta) to help reform the criminals.  In the process of their reformation, Mr. Wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell – Moon, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) actually does start going good, which leads to its own share of conflict within the group as the story progresses.  Of course being a family friendly movie, the story ends up with a surprise happy ending that will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  Coming in at just under two hours (one hour, 40 minutes to be exact), the story’s pacing helps things along, too.  Even the romance subplot (yes, sadly even here there is a romance story) does not overpower the bigger story of the Bad Guys turning good, but rather is blended well into the overall story, letting itself take a backseat to the bigger tale.  The overall story also has plenty of jokes that are just edgy enough to have adults laughing but not questioning their content.  So even here is an aspect of the story that further shows the story’s importance and impact.  Overall, the story featured here in The Bad Guys offers so much for audiences to appreciate more than once.

As much as the story featured in The Bad Guys does to make it enjoyable, it is just one part of what makes the movie so engaging and entertaining.  The cast’s work throughout does its own share to make the movie enjoyable.  From Alex Borstein (Family Guy, Bad Santa, Catwoman) taking on the comedic role of Police Chief Misty, who is hellbent on catching Mr. Wolf and company, to Craig Robinson (Hot Tub Time Machine, This Is The End, Pineapple Express) adding so much comedic timing as Mr. Shark, to Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born, In The Heights, Hamilton) bringing something of a Joe Pesci type personality to Mr. Piranha, and more, the whole cast brings so much enjoyment to the movie.  Staying for a moment on Ramos’ performance, he does such a great job giving Mr. Piranha that Napoleon complex of sorts for which Pesci’s characters have come to have over the years.  He really has a great gangster persona yet he does it in such a fun fashion that the whole family will enjoy his work.  Robinson brings his own talent to Mr. Shark, making Mr. Shark an equally great comic relief among the group.  He succeeds in creating that contrast between the personalities of his cast mates and deserves his own share of applause.  Borstein, who is largely known for her work on Family Guy is just as entertaining as Officer Misty, giving Officer Misty an almost Ahab-esque personality in her quest to catch The Bad Guys once and for all.  The moments when the group escapes her clutches, her reaction makes for so many laughs.  Between these cast members and the others, every cast member here brings so much to the table and makes for that much more engagement and entertainment for the whole family.  When the cast’s work pairs with the movie’s story, that collective makes for all the more enjoyment here.

The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release rounds out the presentation’s most important elements.  There is a lot of bonus content but not a lot at the same time.  There is an expansive amount of content in the way of learning how to make push pops (which is directly related to a certain element of the movie’s story).  Families can learn how to make healthy and tasty fruit push pops and how to dress each one up as a character from the movie, which takes up a lot of time.  It also means it will take a lot of time for parents to write everything down if they actually make the frozen treats. 

Another bonus that stands out is the standard making of featurette.  Audiences learn through this featurette that the animation style used in this movie was intentionally meant to be different from all of the cookie cutter animation presented by Disney and so many other Dreamworks movies.  It is pointed out that the movie’s animation is an intentional blend of anime and French animation style.  It gives the animation its own welcome unique touch that is just as endearing as the movie’s story and the cast’s work. 

In yet another of the bonuses, audiences get to hear from the movie’s main cast, as the group talks about taking on its respective roles.  The interviews are brief, but still enlightening and entertaining.  That is because of the insight that each cast member offers in terms of taking on the roles of characters that most audiences might not know.  It shows a certain level of respect that each cast member has for the characters, the movie, and for one another.  Between this bonus, the others discussed here and the few others included in the movie’s home release, the overall bonus content is not necessarily ground breaking, but it does add at least a little bit of extra engagement and entertainment to the presentation.  When the enjoyment raised by the bonus content is considered along with the movie’s story and the cast’s work therein, the whole makes the movie overall such a joy to take in any time with the whole family.

Dreamworks Animation, Universal Pictures, and Scholastic Entertainment’s recently released cinematic adaptation of The Bad Guys is a surprisingly enjoyable presentation that the whole family will enjoy together time and again.  That is proven in part through a movie that does so well in bringing together elements of author Aaron Blabey’s books for its central story.  The work of the cast interpreting the scripts adds even more enjoyment to the mix because of the personality that each actor brings to his and her respective character.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its home release adds its own subtle touch to the presentation, too.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered they make Bad Guys one of the biggest surprises of this year’s field of new theatrical and home movie releases.

Bad Guys is available now on digital and physical platforms.  More information on The Bad Guys is available at:

Website: https://uni.pictures/TheBadGuys

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheBadGuysMovie

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Dreamworks To Debut New ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ Holiday Special

Courtesy: Dreamworks Animation

Dreamworks is bringing its hit How To Drain Your Dragon franchise back to television this holiday season with a new half-hour special.

How To Train Your Dragon Homecoming is scheduled to air at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT Dec. 3 on NBC.  The story reunites stars Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler and Craig Ferguson for a story that picks up 10 years after the end of the property’s movie trilogy.  It bridges the span where the trilogy’s finale ended and the reunion of Hiccup and Toothless at that movie’s very end.

Hiccup and Toothless open the 30-minute special, sharing stories of their adventures with their families.There is just one problem.  With so much time having elapsed between the end of the trilogy’s climactic battle and the friends’ reunion, the vikings had forgotten about the bond between the dragons and vikings.  This leads Hiccup to come up with the idea to develop a grand holiday pageant celebrating that once unbreakable bond.

Tim Johnson (HomeAntz) directed the new special.  Jonathan Groff (blackish) and Jon Pollack (Modern Family) co-wrote the script for the brand new holiday special. Craig Rittenbaum (Dreamworks Dragons) associate produced the special.

How To Train Your Dragon Homecoming is scheduled for release on DVD Dec. 3, the same day it airs on NBC.  It will premiere on digital on Dec. 4 and on Hulu on Dec. 5.

The new special is just the latest appearance that the hugely popular franchise has had on television.  It has also spawned the animated series Dragons: Riders of Berk and Dragons: Race To The Edge as well as the previously released holiday special, Dragons Holiday: Gift of the Night Fury.

More information on this and other titles from Dreamworks is available online now at:


Website: http://dreamworks.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DreamWorks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DreamWorks


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Audiences Will “Love” Dreamworks’ New Madagascar Special

Courtesy:  Dreamworks Home Entertainment/Dreamworks Animation SKG/20th Century Fox/ 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Dreamworks Home Entertainment/Dreamworks Animation SKG/20th Century Fox/ 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Dreamworks Animations’ Madagascar movies comprise one of the company’s most successful franchises.  It’s so successful in fact that it has even spawned a holiday special titled, Merry Madagascar.  Now the Madagascar gang is back again for yet another holiday special.  This time, love is in the air for the gang as Valentine’s Day nears.  Ironically enough King Julian (once again voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen) gets his hands on a perfume called “Love Potion #9” that makes anyone that wears it irresistible.  When the “love potion” is used on Marty, it leads to an unintended effect, which ends up in Marty and the rest of Alex’s friends learning a very valuable lesson about friendship and love.  The moral lesson and the laughs together will keep audiences engaged throughout the course of the special’s near half-hour run time.  To be exact, Madly Madagascar’s run time is closer to twenty-five minutes than thirty.  Though chances are if it is ever run on television, it will reach the half-hour mark thanks to commercials. 

The run-time aside, much of the reason for the enjoyment in this special comes from the special’s writing staff and the voice cast’s ability to interpret the script.  The entire cast from the previous Madagascar movies is back once more, with one more addition.  Phil LaMarr (Futurama) joins the cast as the voice of a wildlife official at a Safari camp who has to chase after the infamous penguins of Madagascar.  That’s right, even the penguins are back, creating their own mischief as the love bug has hit their leader, too.  The original voice actors behind the penguins have returned, too.  Keeping all of this in mind, it’s no wonder that interpreting the script for this special was so simple for the cast as it had to have been old hat for everybody. 

The cast’s interpretation of the writers’ script plays its own role (no pun intended) in the success of this latest special.  Audiences will also appreciate that the CG-based “animation” used in all of the previous Madagascar installments was used in this special, too.  That familiarity of sorts—as minor as it may be—will help make this new installment a welcome return for audiences of all ages.  The pop culture references to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Robert Palmer, The Black Eyed Peas, and The Clovers also make for their own laughs.  All of this combined with the script writing and voice acting will make Madly Madagascar a Valentines special that the whole family will enjoy year after year.

The main feature included in this new DVD release is enjoyable enough for the whole family.  It’s only part of the overall enjoyment that families will get from this new release.  Just as enjoyable are the bonus shorts included with it.  Two bonus shorts are included on the disc.  The first of the pair is a touching Pixar style piece titled, “First Flight” in which a rather unhappy man learns the meaning of happiness when a baby bird falls from its nest and he ends up teaching the young avian how to fly.  It truly is a moving story as short as it is.  And it will leave both kids and adults smiling and shedding at least some tears of joy.  Being that the only dialogue here so to speak is the man and bird “talking” to each other through bird song, the music played a big role in the success of the story.  It came through in a big way, too.  It added so much emotion to the entire story.  It goes to prove that Pixar just might have some competition next awards season if Dreamworks continues to try its hand with more animated shorts.  And from the viewpoint of this critic, if this short is any indication, more shorts from Dreamworks would be welcome.

The second short of the pair is far less emotional.  Instead it’s on the exact opposite end of the spectrum.  It’s taken from Dreamworks’ Over The Hedge movie franchise.  The short, titled, “Hammy’s Boomerang Adventure” is a laugh-a-minute short that follows Hammy and his friends in their discovery of a video camera.  Hammy’s friends use it to play a prank on Hammy.  The writing for this short harkens back to the days of the old Warner Brothers Looney Tunes shorts with its physical comedy between Hammy and the Boomerang.  And as with the short’s companion Madagascar feature, the original voice actors from Over The Hedge have returned here adding to the hilarity.  Adding even more enjoyment to the short is a little musical number from pop star Ben Folds.  Folds performs a song titled, ‘Heist’ for the short’s end credits.  It’s not that long, obviously.  But it’s still a catchy little tune that will have viewers tapping their toes.  It might even be enough to get audiences interested in hearing more of his music.  His music combined with the equally enjoyable shorts and main feature from the Madagascar gang come together to make for a DVD that any audience will want to check out when it hits store shelves next Tuesday, January 29th.  It will also be available online.  It can be ordered direct online via the 20th Century Fox store at http://www.foxconnect.com/madly-madagascar.html.

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