The Bad Guys: A Surprising Success


Julia Schwartz, Contributor

If there’s one thing that I hate about movies, it’s predictable “twists” and endings. Usually if something is predictable, it means that the producers weren’t being creative when making it, and I think that an original plot is one of the most important parts of a movie. But in DreamWorks’s new movie The Bad Guys, I learned that it’s possible to have predictable endings while still having an original movie. 

This movie had a simple, comic book animation style, which blended perfectly with the plot. There were thicker lines and less detail to the drawing, much like a comic book. One specific aspect that I noticed was the dust. It had a 2-D look to it, and stayed behind all the characters instead of dissipating around them. One rising freshman at Discovery, Annali Luthy, seemed to agree. “I liked The Bad Guys,” she said. “The animation was very smooth throughout the movie and it kind of stood out to me.” 

The movie was loosely based off of a graphic novel series of the same name, written by Aaron Blabey. After learning this, I got a copy of the first two books so that I could compare them to the movie. They were pretty short, which explains why the series has 14 of them.  I found them to be cute and hilarious. The drawings in the book were super simple sketches, with no color. They were also very different from the animation in the movie, as the movie felt and looked more completed while the book seemed like a rough draft. Far from a drawback, this gave the books a certain charm that I really enjoyed.

My sister, Michelle Schwartz, is a 6th grader at Discovery, and she had seen the movie with me. When I asked her if she liked it, she replied “Somewhat.” So I asked her what she liked and didn’t like about the movie. She just kept saying “shark” when I asked what she liked, so I guess that was her favorite character. She also said “Mr. Wolf was too soft. Too much character development for them all. Except the shark.” She really liked Mr. Shark. Huh.

One of the major differences I found between the books and the movie was the characters. For one, they all looked different. In the movie, the shark and piranha were given legs, while in the books they kind of ignored that. Mr. Wolf and Mr. Snake had different designs. On top of that, the tarantula (called Ms. Tarantula in the movie and Legs in the books) was introduced in the second book. Legs was also male in the books. One more thing that was different was that, in the book, that characters were making an effort to become good. In the movie, they wanted to be bad for a while and had to be pressured into changing.

But this is a review about the movie, not the books. So what about the characters in the movie? Well, I don’t think the movie would have been the same without them. They each contributed something, from a hilarious joke to a surprising plot-twist. The main character, Mr. Wolf, was basically the heart of the movie. The whole story followed him as he is the leader of the group. Mr. Shark, the master of disguises, mostly created a bunch of hilarious scenes. Although one of the scenes was almost heart-breaking… but in a funny way? No spoilers! Mr. Piranha’s contribution was accidentally making all of their schemes a bit harder, something every comedy about a bunch of criminals needs. Ms. Tarantula played a big part when it came to their schemes, but other than that she just had a couple of remarks every once in a while and that was it. Mr. Snake, I think, reflected the whole group’s character development. Character development wasn’t shown too much in the rest of the group, mostly because it was masked by all their quirky traits. My sister also had a comment on the group as a whole: “The the fact that the group all has emotional problems is like Friends.” I can see what she was trying to say… but I’m not sure that Friends is the most accurate comparison. Of course, this was just the main characters. There are a couple of prominent side characters, as well.

Several of the voice actors have been in other DreamWorks’ films as well. Sam Rockwell, the voice of Mr. Wolf, played one of the main character in Trolls World Tour. Anthony Ramos, the voice of Mr. Piranha, played a side character in the same movie. And Craig Robinson, Mr. Shark, played a side character in Shrek Forever After.

All in all, I really liked this movie and I definitely recommend watching it. It was released to theaters on April 22nd, and will be coming to Peacock in early June. So if you’ve got the chance to watch it, I say, take it!