6 February 2013 | StevePulaski
A danger to children's attention spans and their mental health
The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure is the worst kind of film you could ever show your young children. It's unsubstantial, witless, lacks anything in the way of a lesson or a moral, too kiddish for even the youngest viewer, and largely comprised of things that have been proved unhealthy for your visual and auditory senses. It has been reported by Box Office Mojo as having one of the worst opening weekends for a film opening on more than 2,000 screens, with a dismal $102,564 and a final gross of $1.06 million. Against a $20 million budget (and an extra $40 for marketing), this makes this one of the worst performances for a film ever.
Our story is concerns Goobie, Zoozie, and Toofie, the three Oogieloves that exist in their own world, which is so colorful that is borders along the lines of nauseating. They are celebrating their pillow Schluufy's birthday, and plan to give him five bright gold balloons for his surprise party, which they plan to set up while he is sleeping. When J. Edgar (their vacuum cleaner friend) accidentally frees the balloons outside, they become scattered all over the whole mythical land, leaving the Oogieloves no choice but to get them back. They bounce in and out of colorfully artificial sets, running into people like Rosalie Rosebud, Dottie Rounder, Marvine Milkshake, Bobbly Wobbly, and Lero Sombrero.
That's all well and good, but would you believe those characters are played by none other than Toni Braxton, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Chazz Palminteri, Jamie Pressly, and Cary Elwes? If one thing is guaranteed to make your jaw drop when watching this film, whether it be the stunningly frothy atmosphere, the corny singalongs, or the inept nature of the characters, it will be the list of talent involved with this project. What could've been going through Chazz Palminteri's mind when he signed up for this film? He was the driving force behind the film adaptation for A Bronx Tale, an amazing coming of age story I'm sure those who attended The Oogieloves won't go on to see. To give him credit, he plays his role with convincing motivation, but witnessing him batting dopey milkshake puns and dancing around the milkshake diner, concocting cockamamie shakes filled with peppermint, chili, pickles, and other ingredients is one of the most dreadful things I've ever seen a talented actor succumb to. And I saw Movie 43, mind you.
Let's talk about the box office performance of this film. Normally, if I catch a film on DVD, when all its financial information is already public and mostly complete, I shy away from explaining it because it usually has nothing to do with the quality of the film at hand. It's not worth mentioning, per say. Yet we need to talk about how The Oogieloves performed theatrically. I already wrote an entire blog when this film was in its theatrical run about how this film's dismal performance was either an indication of the end of August being a generally poor time to release a film (kids are going back to school, adults are generally rushed, and time is fleeting) or a smart public. Both of those, I believe, are big factors, but one of the biggest ones is the lack of an introduction on these characters or "Oogieloves." Think about it. Films like the Rugrats trilogy, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, and The Wild Thornberry's Movie succeeded largely due to their name and familiarity amongst elementary schoolers and maybe those of selective age groups. The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure is marketing characters nobody knows to a demographic that still can't completely influence their parents to take them to the cinema to watch the film of their choice. Usually, the parents decide the film and see if the child has any dissenting remarks. The Oogieloves were not introduced to the public prior to this unexpected movie adventure, and with no prior consumer knowledge via an album debut, a TV special, a TV show, books, etc, this was a project doomed from the start. Why was $60 million invested into this? The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure was marketed as an "interactive" movie feature, allowing children to fearlessly speak to the characters in the film, get up and dance on que, or openly talk during the picture. During the course of this eighty-one minute endeavor, ten songs are played, hoping to get children out of their seats and on their feet dancing. What is played are some of the most redundant, idiotic, monotonous songs that showcase nothing but maddening tedium. If there was any prior music released by the Oogieloves prior to this film I'd hate to hear it. The theatrics, too, never stem past costumed-humans dancing robotically back and forth to the music, and in a day and age where computer animation can create an army of one-thousand characters to dance and sing simultaneously, this return to primitive style is lame and relatively bland.
To bring things to a simple close, The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure is a harmful, harmful film to show young children. Films like this give kids nothing but a shorter attention span and an energy level that can easily be adopted off of caffeine and fast food. Taking your child to see this film will do nothing to make them smarter, better, and will do nothing to further them in any way shape or form. Taking them to see films like Brave, Cars, Shrek, Toy Story, or Wreck-It Ralph fuel their minds with creative energy, giving them a lust for life, adventure, and fun. This is one of the most appalling films released in some time for all the wrong reasons.