My opinion right after watching the movie
My opinion right after watching the movie is that I did not despise it like I thought I was going to. I was really enjoying how they captured the imagination of childhood, and how they handle a lack of attention, which was also helped by the strong voice cast. It did turn overtly predictable and boring at various points in the film, and a lot of the contrivances held it back, and made the film a lot weaker than it was. It’s a classic case of the story being a lot weaker than the great message, and putting their attention in the wrong aspects of the movie.
The only thing I can find out about the production of this film is that it was announced in mid-2014, and it had it’s initial 2016 date taken away, for it to be given to Kung Fu Panda 3.
I guess I’ll spend a majority of this section talking about the events of the last few years in the company. We all know that 2014 was the year of multiple layoffs and box office flops for DreamWorks, so it was clear that they need a hit, and FAST. Because of this, they decided to go back on their word, and only make 1-2 films a year to avoid losing money. Home did alright, Kung Fu Panda 3 was a success, but less than its two predecessors, and Trolls performed eh in the box office, but was granted a sequel due to its musical success. NBCUniversal has bought out DreamWorks last year but there are two more films in their 20th Century contract before they can officially move over.
I am going to be doing this review differently, because my laptop broke, and my other computer will not outright allow me access to WordPress (can’t access pictures), so I am uploading this from my phone.
The story starts with a narration from someone named Timothy Templeton (Tobey Maguire) discussing how imaginative he was when he was 7 years old (Miles Bakshi), and how he loved the attention he received from his parents Ted (Jimmy Kimmel) and Janice (Lisa Kudrow), which all changed when a little brother was sent to their front door (which may or may not have been imagined by him). I’m just going to say that the whole concept of Baby Corp and the delivery is confusing, since the film does acknowledge that people can get pregnant, but are there both options for babies to be created? It was the same issue that I had with Storks, but they can’t fully divulge into it, since this is a family film.
Boss Baby (Alec Baldwin) is of course loving the attention from the parents, though they don’t find it odd how he wears a business suit, has a case, so on and so forth. Of course the two children start to hate one another, which only increases when Tim finds out that Boss Baby can speak normally, drink coffee, and acts like a grown man. What I do appreciate is that unlike in Storks, at least this film tries to explain more of the worldbuilding regarding that, and we learn that Boss Baby is only there because he is on a mission to make sure that babies are the most loved, and he has a few days to figure out a solution. He tries to form a meeting (a play date) with the other babies about how they need to defeat puppy love, which causes Tim to attempt to record him, which he will play to the parents, who will then give him up. Kind of stupid.
The parents see them fighting, and of course Tim is grounded, which is seen like being in prison. Boss Baby enters the room to attempt to apologize, and the ice is somewhat broken, since they agree to work together for Boss Baby to accomplish his mission, and go back to Baby Corp. Anyways, they both suck on a pacifier so they could see what is happening in Baby Corp, and we learn that babies in Baby Corp tay young by drinking a special formula, and Boss Baby chose to reside at their house because their parents work at Puppy Corp.
It is “Take your kid to work day” at Puppy Corp, and the two use this as an opportunity to get files from the company to see why puppies are more loved, but it is a trap by a grown up former head of Baby Corp named Francis (Steve Buscemi). He founded Puppy Corp, after his lactose intolerance caused him to grow up (since the formula wouldn’t work on him), caused him to be fired, and bitter. I really wished that they didn’t add a villain, and make this simple story into this unnecessarily grandoise evil plot. The trend where every film needs a big, bad, evil villain is more than tiring, and it just makes this film more tiring, formulaic, and grating than it already was.
We even get the arbitrary “fight and make up” scene between our two main characters that I don’t care to get into. Puppy Corp is going to Las Vegas for some intervention, and since it is Francis’ plan to turn the baby serum into a puppy serum, the duo are trying to stop it from happening. Anyways, Boss Baby is reverting back into a baby (which he of course gets out of by family love or whatever), and Francis is turned back into a baby, where he will be “raised properly all over again”. Boss Baby is promoted, and Tim goes back to being an only child, but of course they are reunited, and it appears that everything was in his imagination, as a blonde baby named Theodore Lindsey is brought home. The film ends up with them both being adults, with Tim having two girls, and Theodore being a businessman.
My overall problem with this movie is that the concept would have been great for a short, but to drag it to 1 hour and 20 minutes cause them to add a bunch of unnecessary fluff and contrivances that made it grating. I was actually liking the beginning, but as soon as the first act ended, and the whole Baby Corp conflict came into play, I quickly lost interest in what was already something I knew was going to take place. The imagination scenes were brilliant, but the characters and execution need to sell the movie, and it just didn’t pull through with this film. Just when there was a smidge of something that made this movie stand out, the fire was quickly put out. I am sure I’ll forget about this film very soon.
There really is not much to say about the characters in the movie. Tim is the typical child who has to learn not to be in the center of attention and has a huge imagination, Boss Baby is all about the running joke of sounding and acting like an adult, while being a baby. He has his funny moments, but it’s far and between. The parents are really forgettable, and just the typical parents. Don’t care for Francis, as he seems like he was randomly inserted in the story because they had to drag the film out. Who else is in this movie? While a concept may be brilliant to invest into, it will be impossible to fully divulge into the world of the film if the characters are nothings.
The animation is the only aspect of the film that really impressed me. While the human designs are not the best, the motion scenes are brilliant. Whether it was the children fighting epically in their imaginations (and the contrast to what it’s like in reality), or the bold color and shapes that were used for the setting was brilliant to see.
Honestly, I barely remember much of the score in the film. Obviously, they have more whimsical scores when it comes to imagination and childhood friendliness, and they jazz it up whenever the business or Boss Baby does something funny enough. None of it is memorable though.
Reception at Release
When it was released on March 31st, it has (as of May 15th) made $162.4 million domestically, and $294.1 million elsewhere, with a worldwide amount of $456.4 million. I predict that it will at least make $500 million, which DreamWorks desperately needs, since most of their films have underperformed or outright bombed since 2010. It makes it even better because this film is an original, and not a sequel.
Critically, it has received mixed reception. Most people critiqued it for its thin premise, story, characters and the cheap humour, while they liked the animation, and some of the wit in the film. I know most consider this to be one of the weakest DreamWorks films because they think it’s just utterly stupid.
= 23.5/40 = 59%