I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m a kid at heart, and I’m not ashamed to say I like going to see kids movies, because let’s face it, they’re a lot of fun, and most of the time really aimed towards us anyways with the jokes that fly over every kid in the crowd. Animated movies are always a big winner in the box office, and every year we see more and more studios try to jump on the coat tails of Dreamworks and Pixar. However, it doesn’t always work out in their favors, and this is a prime example of why.
Surly (Will Arnett) is a squirrel who only looks out for himself. Always on the lookout for the latest score, he constantly tries to outwit and out eat the critters from the park in which he resides. The park is having trouble gathering food for winter, and Surly makes it worse by botching a “Nut Job” that causes a propane tank to fly into the tree in which they all live in causing a catastrophe that may destroy the lives of his fellow animal folk.
The film’s strongest asset, is the voice cast. Will Arnett, Katherine Heigl, Liam Neeson, all these names draw you into the movie, and they do the best that they can with the material provided to them. I guess I could be nice and say that the animal models are nicely detailed, the fur is rendered nicely, and the scenery is quite lovely and well put together, kudos to the modelers and texture artists at their studio.
Where should I start with this disaster of a kids flick. I complimented the studio on grabbing such big actors that provided the few bits of entertainment I managed to grab from this film. I’ll give them that, but they lose points for such an abysmal screenplay. The jokes are not clever, they rely on really poor vulgar human to try and get the kids laughing while the parents are cringing. The story is messy, and it’s very hard to find anyone you really want to cheer for, the character arcs are stitched together in a rather juvenile pattern. It’s also predictably dull.
While the movie looks nice, the animation is lazy, the crew relied on old tricks to cut corners. Animators try to avoid to have “twinning” occur, where body parts are doing the same thing, or moving the same way at the same time, and the same exact position. These animators didn’t seem to care, or the product was rushed to theaters so they never had time to adjust and put some careful timing in their movements. It looks unnatural, and very off putting.
The sound design is frightful, and the soundtrack doesn’t fit at all. There’s only so many times you can hear Gangnam Style in a movie before it gets dreadfully old. While the voice cast does their best, most of the minor characters are terrible, and Grayson (played by Brendan Fraser) is one of the worst, bad dialogue and often times his delivery of lines are just painful to listen to on top of that.
I don’t know what else I can say about this movie, so I’ll leave you with this. Want to know how bad this movie was? My three year old daughter got bored and wandered off. If a kid can’t stand it, there’s a good chance you won’t either. 1.5 Nuts out of 10.