I don’t typically do a lot of movie reviews, but recently I have taken to talking about movies through the lens of Biblical Apologetics. I wrote several posts about Turning Red and explained why it is an unlikable, immoral dumpster fire which you should avoid watching, in the way you should avoid looking directly at a solar eclipse. So I thought it only fair that I should tell you about a good movie: THE BAD GUYS!
The Bad Guys is based on a book series which I have not read, but which several grade school children I know have read and enjoyed. I believe this movie is based on the first two books, but you don’t need to have read them to enjoy it at all. The basis is pretty simple- a handful of animals which are always portrayed as Bad Guys (a wolf, tarantula, snake, shark and piranha) are a criminal gang who rob banks and steal art and stuff like that. You know, typical predatory/carnivorous animal crimes. But after one daring job which is intended to cement their legacy as the greatest criminals in history, something goes wrong, and they are caught!
But Wolf is a smart guy, and he finds a way to have them put on probation as part of an experiment where they will learn how to be GOOD GUYS. Will it work? Or is Wolf just pretending to be good to avoid jail and complete his MASTER CRIMINAL PLAN?
I’m not going to spoil it, but I am going to praise it a bit more.
WHY THIS MOVIE IS AWESOME
The visual style of this movie is AMAZING. It is BEAUTIFUL- a combination of the best 3D and 2D art, in a style that uses both in a similar fashion to 2015’s The Peanuts Movie. I LOVE the look of this movie from the very beginning. The editing keeps up the pace, the action is well choreographed, and the chase scenes are exciting.
The movie is mainly a family friendly comedy, but it still takes the action seriously, not to make it scary, but to make it exciting. The fights and chases are filmed and edited like a big blockbuster action movie. A lot of the film is crime caper stuff, and it is done in a quick and thoughtful style that makes sense. You get the sense that these guys are smart and capable, and have worked together a long time without having a HUGE exposition dump about them at any time. This movie SHOWS you instead of just TELLING you. It’s well written.
The characters are instantly likable, and well written, especially for a kids movie. Even through various character arcs, the characters aren’t two faced, flipping from smart to stupid or other inconsistencies which a lot of movies do badly. All of the characters are consistent in a way that makes sense, even when finding themselves in different situations, or when growing and discovering new motivations.
Also, this movie is VERY entertaining. It’s funny from start to finish, and exciting in a handful of ways, from action to suspense to character drama. It makes you think, and it makes you feel. And it makes you laugh. And only THREE of those laughs are fart related.
Not Another Moral Cesspool!
It’s horrifying that I have to even have to say this about a movie made for children, but it’s 2022, so here I go: None of the characters are shown or described to be sexually perverse or confused about their gender identity. When Shark dresses as a woman, it’s played for laughs because he is a male character pretending to be a woman as part of his disguise in their criminal heist. It’s really funny. Nobody suggests that he is “being his true self” in the manner that, unfortunately, both The Muppets and the Muppet Babies have done with some of their male characters who decide their are, somehow, female.
There are female characters who are shown to be smart and capable, but there is never the “boys vs girls” feminist garbage crammed into it unnecessarily. Some of the smart characters are male, and others are female. One of the best fighters is a female character who shows up later in the film, but we’re never told or shown that she is somehow superior to the male characters. She is simply allowed to be realistically competent without it being forced into a competition which, because feminism, the male characters HAVE to lose. Instead, the characters have equal respect for each other’s strengths.
There are no alarming Leftist politics shoved down our throats. There are no dialogues praising communism, or warning us of the dangers of climate change, or reminding us that white Americans are the worst oppressors the world has ever known, etc. It’s a family friendly film with no Leftist politics in it. Unlike in Zootopia, the conflict between the predators and other characters is not used as a thinly veiled metaphor for racial tensions or racism. The movie just treats them like characters who are unique individuals who just happen to be talking animals.
The closest thing to politics is when, in a pretty throw away comment, Tarantula says she voted for the Governor because she liked her stand on Climate change, but we’re never told what that stand is, and it never comes up again. Where other movies would have taken this time to preach, this movie tosses it off as a funny exchange which implies more background depth for the character and leaves it at that.
What’s more, the movie, while centered around career criminals, is actually about redemption, forgiveness, friendship, and people’s ability to decide who they are, based not on how they appear but how they choose to act. It’s not a movie without villains, but rather shows how good and evil are about the choices we can make and not how we are born or how we are perceived. It doesn’t avoid the idea of justice by having the actions be without consequence, but instead shows that sometimes doing what is right also means admitting that you have done wrong, and being willing to pay the price for your crimes. Well, within reason for a kid’s movie.
I’ve seen this movie twice, and I want all of you to see it. First because it’s really a great movie. But also to tell the House of Mouse that, while they want to keep putting Lesbians on screen in their kid’s movies, and everyone is trying to shove their politics into entertainment aimed at the 12 and under crowd, some of us are willing to spend a few dollars to see a good movie that wants to entertain us without trying to brainwash us with their perversity and politics. Vote with your dollar, and do yourself a favor- go see The Bad Guys.