There are so many good things about “The Bad Guys” it would be a crime not to recommend it to grownups as well as kids.
This animated heist movie from DreamWorks Animation is based on the New York Times best-selling series of children’s books.
At the center of the story are The Bad Guys: Leader Mr. Wolf (voice of Sam Rockwell,) a pickpocket. Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos,) safe cracker Mr. Snake (Marc Maron,) Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) and tech expert Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina.)
After an action-packed beginning, the notorious gang of criminals is caught. Sparks fly between Mayor Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) and Mr. Wolf (there’s a great dance sequence that’s honestly one of the most romantic scenes I’ve seen all year.) The mayor agrees to release the crooks to heroic guinea pig Professor Marmalade, who promises to take the group under his wing, er, paw, and rehabilitate them.
Mr. Wolf has an experience that makes him feel, well, good. And he begins to wonder: Is he really a good guy at heart? What will the other members of the troupe think when he suggests they really should become law-abiding citizens?
I love the look of all the characters against the eye-popping backgrounds and action.
Kids won’t get the references to Tarantino movies, but grownup film fans will. Both will appreciate little moments, such as the wolf’s wagging tail after he does a good deed, and a mystery character that provides a lot of fun.
There’s a sweet sequence involving a kitten stuck in a tree, and some great dialogue between two characters who aren’t certain whether they still can trust each other.
Parents and kids alike will embrace the underlying themes of kindness, consideration and friendship. And the soundtrack is as rollicking and enjoyable as the action on the screen.
It’s funny and charming with a little edge. It may be the beginning of a new – and most welcome – franchise.
Rated: PG for coarse humor.
Running time: One hour and 40 minutes.
At Cinemark, Davenport; Regal, Moline; and Palms 10, Muscatine.
To watch the trailer, click here.