One Little Piggie

Movies like The Bad Guys serve their purpose as genre tutorials – typically adult concepts filtered down through talking animals, with every cliché trailing behind. In this case, the heist movie.

To any adult, the surprises are never surprising. In this group comprised of a snake, wolf, shark, spider, and piranha, their eventual squabbles lead to a predictable split. In-fighting brings the twist among the gang, and the inevitable reform casts them as heroes (if slightly anti-hero-ish).

The Bad Guys does everything right for contemporary studio-produced animation

Within that mixture come lessons on not judging people based on their looks and the ultimate kids movie message that teamwork can conquer any challenge. The cuteness and the color, plus the chaotic pacing, provides constant activity to hook shortening attention spans. The Bad Guys does everything right for contemporary studio-produced animation.

It’s fun, and poking through is a glimmer of creative animated touches. Bad Guys’ world looks flatter than most, refreshingly clean, and dotted by techniques rendered like traditional hand drawn elements (smoke and dust, among others). Maybe that’s a budgetary decision, although this likewise suits a crisp vintage aesthetic giving The Bad Guys a ‘70s-esque vibe.

Key to this entire story is the opening scene that involves a bank heist. Once the safe is secured, the crew evade police through a dynamic chase, much of the money lost when the safe breaks open. These criminals don’t appear bothered as their loot enters the air. For them, this isn’t about the goods, but bonding together over the one thing human/talking animal society decided they are – crooks. Rejection, disdain, and stereotypes put them here, not any great will to do wrong.

That’s not a defense of thievery, just a condemnation that pokes at short-sighted social status. Bad Guys, for its use of generic tropes, finds purpose in these characters for more than mere slapstick. If there’s any great success to Bad Guys, it’s in carefully turning these rogues into something people cheer for, and not only due to their entertainment value.

Video

While The Bad Guys doesn’t make massive resolution gains over the companion Blu-ray, that’s not necessarily a downer. The source animation isn’t swarming with fine details and the 2K finish provides a softer aesthetic, akin to the ’70s crime story it’s emulating. Encoding keeps things clear.

This follows through to the color, employing an amber touch, reducing primaries a touch, if still attractive. Deep color adds a spark, keeping the coastal locale and the sunlight impressively warm. Scenes/shots that break from the vintage filter show splendid reds and blues. Police shirts hit a nice turquoise.

Added pop from the HDR renders black levels gorgeously. The 3D effect is full, emboldened by a strengthened contrast. Peak nits don’t offer anything particularly exciting, but do sit naturally in the imagery.

Audio

Energetic Dolby Atmos keeps Bad Guys active, the sweeping motions precise as cars pass through the frame. Stereo and rears both play well. Directionality doesn’t matter – side-to-side or front-to-back perform equally well. Plus, they’re used with frequency. Heights count a little, used sparingly in comparison, if called on as needed.

Surprisingly potent, the low-end produces impressive jolts whether it’s car engines, the music, or explosions. Guinea pig stampedes create a superb rumble. LFE presence is a constant. Given the amount of action, Bad Guys gives the subwoofer a steady workout.

Extras

Five people from the creative team, including director Pierre Perifel, gather for a commentary track. Some generic featurettes follow, although the cast table read is fun as it was done online. Deleted scenes and storyboard comparisons provide the best insight into the production process, certainly more so than the glossy, studio-led pieces elsewhere on the disc.

The Bad Guys
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras

Movie

An energetic and playful animated caper, The Bad Guys doesn’t have surprises, but it’s a flashy, chaotic tale about doing right.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 43 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: