Okay, let’s start with the basics. Barring any further revelations it’s pretty clear that the animators on this film were mistreated. The entire state of the American third party animation industry is pretty much fucked. But that doesn’t excuse the shady shit that has happened in the films production. When I recommend this it is of course with the caveat that these business practices should not be endorsed.
It’s a shame that all this shit sprung up around this film. It’s fucking brilliant, the funniest film of the year. It contains multitudes, elaborate sight gags share the screen with broad slapstick. It tries, like Rogen’s 2013 script This Is the End, to ask fundamental questions about the nature of belief and with the same seriousness dedicates a whole sequence to a pun so monumentally stupid that you are left with no recourse but to laugh.
It’s this seriousness that carries the piece, recent Rogen/Goldberg joints This Is the End and The Interview never landed with me. The rapture and North Korea respectively felt distant, largely because the characters in both seemed to view their realities with a sort of detached irony. In the most ridiculous premise the writers find licence to create characters who feel truly present. By the end we do really care about the ridiculous sausage-men because from the very start (a musical number by the way) the film is unapologetic in telling us that we should. Perhaps in animation, the tool of perfectionism and fastidiousness a creative team almost defined by its looseness finds structure. Just about every choice made by the filmmakers here is done with the intent of developing and exploring the characters at the centre.
Talking of the end, boy is that something. One enters fully expecting boundaries to be broken and lines to be crossed. The gleeful and playful nature of how the film does it though is a treat. Lines are carefully drawn and redrawn until the chalk runs out and the pure unbridled id of the creators’ splashes all over the audience. It won’t be for everyone.
I’ve talked a lot about the high level creatives, the production team, the scriptwriters, the cast (who we are all familiar with) put in a variety of charming performances. But let’s give some praise to the people on the ground who constructed the thing. Let’s be frank: it doesn’t always look good, but it looks how it should. The plastic garishness may be an acquired taste but when the characters leave their home the true range of the designers comes into play. There’s more detail here than first appears. The animators too, good gosh can these characters be proper charming, Michael Cera’s Barry so much so I just want to eat him right up.
And here I promised myself I wouldn’t be going and making food jokes.
Congratulations, to everyone who had a hand in making this (whether they felt fit to include you in the credits or not) you all did a Good Job.