Saturday, 11 November 2017

Movie Review: The Son Of Bigfoot (2017)



The plot: Teenager Adam (Pappy Faulkner) misses his father (Christopher L. Parson), who was presumed dead after being chased down by scientists led by Wallace. However, when Adam by chance finds that his father is still alive, he’s more than just alive: He’s Bigfoot! As Adam reconnects with his father and his forest friends, Wallace is hot on their trail to capture Bigfoot and discover the cure for baldness.

The voice acting is pretty bland across the board. Faulkner as our focal point character is just okay, not so unengaging that he drags the film down but not so engaging that he makes his presence in the film worth sitting through. Parson as the titular Bigfoot works as the comforting father figure, and while he may not that much of a character to speak of for most of the film, his involvement in the final act shows the most bizarrely complex bit of characterization that has ever come out of an nWave production. It is genuinely impressive, if ultimately underutilized overall. The actors playing the talking animals, because of course they’d be here as well, are all fine but don’t really stand out all that much. Oh, and the guy voicing the big bad Wallace (whose name I could not find online, despite my best efforts, so apologies) is clearly trying for deliciously evil villainy but doesn’t have the energy or the menace to back that up.

As the third nWave Pictures film I’ve seen so far, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that this company puts all its effort into a single thing: Chase scenes. The running scenes with Adam and Bigfoot are very fluid and well-captured, and the scene with him being chased down by a trio of school bullies works along the same grounds. Unfortunately, fast pacing is pretty much all this film has to offer as the rest of the animation is rather pedestrian. The texture quality, particularly with the characters, is very plastic and rubbery, the kind of visuals you would expect from a ‘clearly made for kids and only kids’ production like this. That on its own is fine, except pretty much everything on screen is rendered the same way, from the Bigfoot’s home in the forest to the admittedly decent design for HairCo’s headquarters. It’s all so obvious that it can be difficult to get too invested in, even on the basis of appealing to a younger audience.

This is made worse by the story structure, which barely has anything like actual story to work with. Kid discovers something weird about himself, runs off to find his father, they goof around in the woods for a bit and then the plot actually kicks in during the final act; that’s pretty much all we have to work with. For something that banks on father-son connections to carry its drama(?), not that much is shown to make us care about this coupling, let alone want to see it continue beyond the film’s scope. I’ll admit that the jokes with the talking animals and their conversations with Adam aren’t nearly as irritating as similar scenes from Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life, but it’s not as if wallpaper paste is going to taste any better than actual faeces; there’s still better things to consume out there. Because of the very business-casual approach to its own story, this feels less like an actual film and more an extended distraction for its target demographic. While I appreciate this being far less offensive in many areas than other family films I’ve covered on here, I’m still not buying that kids want to watch something this uninvolved.

And honestly, by the very nature of its plot, this should be better than it is. Bigfoot and his son have to fight a mad scientist who wants to create a cure for baldness; this is the kind of cracky high-concept idea that should be in my wheelhouse. Hell, I grew up watching a film called The Peanut Butter Solution, which was also about rapidly-growing hair and psychotic villains who wanted to get their hands on it; it is gloriously insane. For the majority of the film, it feels like the people at work here don’t really get just how much potential that core idea has… and then the final act kicks in, where Adam and his animal friends have to break into HairCo. From here, not only do the visuals start to gain some points in terms of spectacle, the filmmakers also start to have a bit more fun with what they have on hand. The action scenes, for a start, show a certain understanding of how to make ridiculousness palatable, what with the company’s armed security force trying to fight off a rabbit holding a tazer gun. While the villain only ends up becoming more ineffectual as all this goes on, having an almost revolving door policy with who is kept captive at the lab, it also leads to that weird dramatic moment with Bigfoot. It is proper strange that this kind of pathos is in a film like this, but honestly, that notion of what a person is willing to do to protect their family is greatly appreciated and works remarkably well. I just wish this was all attached to a film that was more consistent.

All in all, this is squarely in the middle in terms of what I’ve seen from nWave. It’s not as aggressively annoying as The Wild Life, but it’s not as pleasantly distracting as The House Of Magic. While the animation continues to show what the company is best at (energetic chase sequences), the acting combined with the animation outside of those scenes isn’t something I’m likely to recall in any great detail after this. That said, the final reel is a major step up, featuring not only some nice visuals but also a disarmingly emotional turn that I don’t think anyone would have seen coming from a film like this. It has its good points, but quite frankly, it’s too little too late for this thing. It’s better than Ballerina as, while not having the same quality of animation, that one dramatic moment was more affecting than anything found in that film. However, even given my lingering problems with the film’s methods, Lahoriye still had a more concrete purpose to it and one that arguably succeeded; this film spends way too much time on the boring shit for that to be the case here.

No comments:

Post a Comment