10 May 2011 | TheLittleSongbird
This is the first time in about three or so months that I found myself this disappointed and angry with an animated film. I'm 19, and I adore animation and have done since I was about 2. But Animals United is a serious contender for the worst animated film I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of animated films, good and bad.
As bad as Titanic:The Animated Movie, Spiders Web:A Pig's Tale, Doogal and Secret of NIMH 2 are, and that word is being kind to them(the first one especially is an insult to the intelligence), Animals United for me surpasses them on levels of how painful and dull it is.
I have so many beefs with Animals United, but I have to say what angered me most was the voice cast. On paper, this is an amazing voice cast. James Corden? Jim Broadbent? Stephen Fry? However, this film wastes their talents completely, at the end of the day Corden is the only one who tries. Everybody else are either annoying(Dawn French, not helped that her character is annoying too) or are dreadfully uninterested(Broadbent in a very rare occurrence).
But a number of things do not help when it comes to the waste of these talented actors. The worst offender was the script, which was really deplorable. The writing in Animals United aims to be funny and poignant. Maybe its main target audience(essentially a family movie but in all honesty watching this I can only see under 12s getting any, if any, value from this film) will find it so, but I for one found it unfunny(the humour was just embarrassing!), saccharine and heavy-handed.
And there is also the lip-synching. I have seen some sloppy lip-synching in my time not just in animated films but in opera films/productions and films in general(though unlike here this in any of those only happened once or twice), but to say the lip-synching is sloppy here is being kind. It was all over the place, I don't remember a single time when it was in sync with the voices or lip-movements. Then again I may have been distracted by how bad the writing and characterisation was.
Animals United is devoid of a single likable or sympathetic character. I couldn't connect to a single character throughout here, and I imagine it was the same with the vocal cast as well. All the characters in Animals United are either annoying or underdeveloped, and that is including the titular character.
The lack of a good story doesn't help either. This is a story that is thin-too thin and uninteresting for an over-90-minute film- and predictable complete with themes that are presented in a superficial, chaotic and preachy manner. Pace-wise as well, excepting scenes such as the ending-and various transitions between plot points that are given less than 5 minutes to develop-that felt rushed, the film is a drag. And there are parts, particularly in the latter section, that feel as though they belong in another movie when it comes to talking about tone, also don't get me started on some of the truly dumb parts of Animals United. For example seeing a polar bear in the Savannah made me lose more than a couple of brain cells. Just for the record, I understand the message the film was trying to convey but the way it was put across was not done at all well.
I was hoping that some good animation might elevate things to a slightly better level. Sadly, even the animation wasn't done well...at all. The colours seem rather flat, the backgrounds are blocky, but the real abomination animation-wise was the character designs. I have seen some animated films and shows where "ugly" character designs are deliberate, but I doubt that was really the case here. Regardless of that, in my opinions they were just hideous, often over-sized and jerky and the mouth movements and lip-synching did little to help either.
I would also say the same for the soundtrack. As an aspiring singer and keen musician, I always look for a good soundtrack. Animals United is not an example of a good soundtrack, in fact it is the exact opposite of a good soundtrack. Not only are some of the musical numbers pointless, but almost every single one of them are misplaced. I didn't think much either of the melodies, which were forgettable, or the lyrics, which often took me out of the mood of the scene.
Overall, a dreadful animated film and one to be avoided. 0/10 Bethany Cox