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4K Ultra HD Review: The Bad Guys (Collector’s Edition)

July 19, 2022

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys, adapted from the book series by Aaron Blabey, is an animated heist movie that riffs on everything from Reservoir Dogs to Pulp Fiction and the Ocean’s Eleven movies. And it’s a lot of fun.

Filled with car chases, twists, and double crossings galore, the film has all the classic hallmarks of the heist genre, as French director Pierre Perifel mixes goofy cartoon humour with imaginative world-building and inventive action into one visually pleasing and frequently amusing package.

The film’s main “bad guy” is Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), a canid con man who leads a team of “predators” including Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson), Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos) and Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina).

They are anthropomorphic animals in a hybrid Los Angeles living up to the stereotypes of how they are viewed in society. When we first meet them in the film (including a single take opening scene), they are in the midst of staging one of the ambitious robberies that have made them a fixture of the nightly news and given them their moniker “the bad guys.” Worried they are losing their touch, Mr. Wolf wants to cement their legacy by pulling off their most ambitious job yet; stealing the Golden Dolphin from the Good Samaritan Awards, a glitzy gala staged to celebrate the do-gooders in society.

The award is being given to arrogant, altruistic guinea pig Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade), and the team has a plan involving disguises and sleight of hand to get in and get out with the prize. But what happens when Mr. Wolf starts to feel the sway of being good instead of bad, and the irresistible wag in his tail that comes with it? This is the crux of the film. With the foxy new governor, Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz), wanting to give them another chance at rehabilitation, Mr. Wolf decides to reinvent his image, at least long enough to use the guise of being good to do one more job.

Put simply, The Bad Guys is the most creative and purely entertaining animated film that DreamWorks has put out in the last little while. The stylized animation (which really pops in 4K with HDR) finds the studio experimenting with a visually appealing mix of 2D and 3D that recalls Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, with strong character designs and lush, illustrative backgrounds.

The clever screenplay by Etan Cohen keeps the story’s many moving parts in constant motion, while allowing Mr. Wolf to break the fourth wall at key moments to offer introductions and exposition. At 100 minutes, The Bad Guys moves at a breakneck pace, with Perifel staging a series of fun set-pieces while also finding room for some satisfying character moments that are well played by the talented vocal cast, who develop an easy rapport together.

Rockwell in particular does solid work, with Mr. Wolf serving as an animated version of the sorts of slippery but charming characters he has come to be known for playing in live action. It’s topped off with an energetic musical score by Daniel Pemberton that very much plays into the heist genre. All in all, The Bad Guys is a good time.

Bonus Features (4K Ultra HD):

The 4K disc includes a number of bonus features. A regular Blu-ray and code for a digital copy are also included in the package, which ships with a slipcover.

All-New Original Short “Maraschino Ruby” (3 minutes, 50 seconds): A fun new short featuring the characters that almost feels a bit like a fully animated deleted scene.

Deleted Scenes (Play All – 10 minutes, 52 seconds): A selection of moments cut from the film, presented mostly in storyboard form, including a lengthy alternate opening sequence.

Original Opening (6 minutes)

Snake Attack (1 minute, 16 seconds)

Extra Secret Base Tour (2 minutes, 13 seconds)

You Can’t Fake Good (1 minute, 1 second)

Post Credits: Scientist Button (20 seconds)

Devise the Plan: Making The Bad Guys (6 minutes, 56 seconds): This standard featurette offers a decent overview of adapting the books, crafting the story, and developing the look of the film.

Assemble the Crew (Play All – 6 minutes, 46 seconds): The six main cast members each talk about their characters.

Wolf – Sam Rockwell (1 minute, 39 seconds)

Snake – Marc Maron (1 minute, 25 seconds)

Shark – Craig Robinson (1 minute, 10 seconds)

Tarantula – Awkwafina (1 minute, 6 seconds)

Piranha – Anthony Ramos (1 minute, 24 seconds)

It’s Showtime: Cast Table Read (5 minutes, 51 seconds): A selection of moments from the virtual table read, interspersed with clips from the finished film.

Snake’s Frozen Pop Shop: Instructions on how to make home made versions of the push pops seen in the film, followed by crafting tutorials on how to “disguise” the frozen treats.

Frozen Pop Recipes (3 minutes, 33 seconds):

How to Disguise Your Frozen Pop (Play All – 3 minutes, 26 seconds):

Easy Distractions (1 minute, 1 second)

Next-Level Double Agents (1 minute, 6 seconds)

Professional Snake Design (1 minute, 18 seconds)

From the Drawing Room: Nelson Yokota, head of story on the film, offers a series of drawing tutorials.

How to Storyboard (4 minutes, 32 seconds): Yokota shows us how to draw storyboards and basic shot compositions.

How to Draw (Play All – 11 minutes, 44 seconds): Yokota teaches us how to draw the main characters.

Wolf (2 minutes, 45 seconds)

Snake (2 minutes, 41 seconds)

Shark (2 minutes, 8 seconds)

Tarantula (2 minutes, 17 seconds)

Piranha (1 minute, 51 seconds)

Feature Commentary with Director Pierre Perifel, Producer Damon Ross, Head of Story Nelson Yokota, Head of Character Animation JP Sans, and Production Designer Luc Desmarchelier

The Bad Guys is a Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 100 minutes and rated PG.

Street Date: July 19th, 2022

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