The Other Side of Animation 255: Human Resources Review

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keep the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

Heads up: I was able to watch this film via a screener sent to me from Netflix. I received no other form of monetization other than the screener. Thank you Netflix for this opportunity.

Out of all of the shows that get people hot and bothered on Netflix, Big Mouth gets people the most bothered. The iconic adult comedy that revolves around the life of a bunch of kids going through the disastrous and horrifying time of puberty with the help of monsters and creatures representing different sides of the human condition has split viewers down the middle. Some love this raunchy comedy for what it’s tackling with puberty, sex, gender identity, and relationships. On the other hand, many do not care for it due to how it’s yet another crass raunchy animated comedy that supposedly skates by with an artificial approach to said topics mentioned in the previous sentence. It doesn’t help that other shows got canceled while Big Mouth was able to fester. Luckily, shows like Tuca and Bertie were able to find new life on other services, but you get the idea. People who hate adult animation and comedies tend to point to this one being the worst of them all as it lingers grossly on the service. And now Nick Kroll and his creative team have a spin-off show that focuses on the monsters at hand. Now then, let’s make a trip to the third floor to Human Resources

This new show was created by  Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Kelly Galuska, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett. This takes place in the world of the creatures that inhabited Big Mouth. We follow a group of different creatures including love bugs, anxiety mosquitos, logic rocks, hormone monsters, depression kitties, addiction angels, and you get the idea. We follow them through their daily lives as they help deal with the problems, minute and personal. 

So, with this being a spin-off to Big Mouth, expect a lot of the same elements that defined the iconic yet polarizing series. Comedy-wise, expect this to be fairly raunchy with so many sex jokes, swearing, and essentially, a small army worth of innuendos and visual gags. There will be nudity and some fairly graphical moments with violence and sex, but at this point with adult animated comedies on the streaming service, you should expect there to be no real limitations. As we have seen with shows like The Prince or HOOPS, being crass, shocking, offensive, and or in bad taste is not enough to make shows good, due to how you need something else to balance out the crass, cynical, and or mean-spirited nature of the art you are offering to viewers. Like how Big Mouth has a flawed if not admirable path of talking about the ugly side of puberty and coming of age with its kid characters becoming teens, Human Resources focuses more on the adult side of the lifespan. Granted, that sounds weird since this show is reliant on you loving the monsters and creatures that helped out the humans in the original show. 

Luckily, there is substance to this show. We see themes and storylines dealing with friendships, workplace situations, trust, dealing with loss and grief, toxic traits, the unpredictable reasons behind being in love, the battle between love and logical thinking, self-love, complicated relationships, sex, and you get the idea. The show does give a lot of characters time to bounce off of one another, and while your tolerance for these characters will make this series enjoyable, there are a few likable characters including Randall Park as Peter the logic rock. Everyone does a good job working off of one another, and while the crass humor is, say it with this critic now, the ride-or-die element of your tolerance for the story and how it all unfolds, there are a few really solid jokes and gags. 

Animation-wise, this show has the common adult-animated comedy visual look caused by problems that originate with bad production cycles made by giant studios and companies not giving the teams making these shows the time they need. As usual, people in the animation industry need new deals, so make sure you show support with stuff like #NewDeal4Animation, #StoryCraftUnite, and #EqualPay4EqualPaint. While it may not have the most appealing designs, there are a few designs that are fun to look at. I love the logic rocks and the need demons the most. It also seems like some moments in the show were able to breathe a little more and have a more fluid feel.  The voice cast is also pretty good with a great cast of comedic and character actors. You have Aidy Bryant, Nick Kroll, Maya Rudolph, David Thewlis, Keke Palmer, Pamela Adlon, Randall Park, Ali Wong, Thandie Newton, Bobby Cannavale, Jemaine Clement, Maria Bamford, Rosie Perez, Henry Winkler, and even guest appearances from Hugh Jackman, Helen Mirin, Lupita Nyong’o, and Janelle Monae to name a majority of a really stacked cast. 

Now, in terms of criticisms, with most comedies, the humor is hit-and-miss, and, well, that’s no different here. A lot of the humor can be a touch much. It has musical moments, but sometimes it can feel too chaotic onscreen all at once.  Some of the comedy even goes down to just yelling, and it’s not fun to watch when everything is going bananas on screen. It also has issues from time to time of balancing out the crass comedy and its more sincere moments. Sometimes the morals hit, and sometimes the comedic punchline or gross-out joke tends to take away the emotional punch. Yes, these characters can be deplorable and gross, but shows like this need to be careful with wanting to have their cake and eat it too. 

While your mileage will very much vary with this spin-off, Human Resources offers a more human experience to the adult animation landscape. If you like Big Mouth, but more for the times it hits more human themes and the creatures involved, then you will probably enjoy this show. If not, well, you can go watch something like Undone on Amazon Prime or Primal on HBO Max for your adult animated needs. Now then, next time, we will be taking a good look at Pixar’s Turning Red

Rating: Go See It! 

The Other Side of Animation 217: Arlo the Alligator Boy Review

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Heads Up!: I was able to view this early with a screener. Thank you, Netflix!

(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

As you know from my reviews old and new, I am a supporter of both original properties and shows and films based on some pre-existing property. My rule of thumb is that whether it’s original or pre-existing, it all comes down to execution. How many times have we seen original ideas flop or pre-existing IPs knock it out of the park and vice versa? Well, many times. That’s why I roll my eyes a little when I see people be in the mindset of “original ideas or nothing at all.” Listen, I want as many original ideas to flourish as possible, but that also means that if you want to see them flourish, that means you accept them warts and all. That is unless they are a hateful problematic piece of garbage or made by a troubling individual. I can’t repeat this enough that you need to support the original ideas. You watch them when they arrive, and you spend some time talking about them more than the pre-existing films and shows. The reason why I bring that up is that today’s review will be of Arlo The Alligator Boy on Netflix. 

Directed by Ryan Crego, this 2D animated original property is Ryan Crego’s first time in the feature film chair, and was an out of nowhere announcement from Netflix. It simply came out of nowhere, and due to Netflix doing what Netflix does, they also have a sequel TV series in the works that will be coming out sometime after the film. It has some big names like American Idol finalist Michael J. Woodard, Mary Lambert, Haley Tju, Jonathan Van Ness, Brett Gelman, Tony Hale, Flea, Annie Potts, Jennifer Coolidge, and Vincent Rodriguez III. It also has music by Alex Geringas and Ryan Crego himself. It was produced by both Titmouse, Inc and Netflix Animation. It’s obvious that Netflix, for all of their warts and problems as a service, wants to do animation that no one else is doing, and well, Arlo is one of those projects you wouldn’t normally see in the US. It would be just another day that ends in Y if this was from France or so, but a fresh-made 2D animated feature from the US that’s not some DC comics direct-to-video film? It’s rarer than you think. That’s why despite the few faults I have with it, I liked the film and think everyone should support it! Let’s dive in and see why I think you should support this film. 



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The story is about a young alligator boy named Arlo, voiced by Michael J Woodard. He lives with his adopted grandma in the swamps. He has a love for music and a fascination with the outside world. One day, he learns that he is not from the swamp, but has a father and is from New York City. He sets off on an adventure to find his father and a journey of self-discovery. Arlo is then joined by a woman named Bertie, voiced by Mary Lambert, a tiny individual named Teeny Tiny Tony, voiced by Tony Hale, a catgirl named Alia, voiced by Haley Tju, a hairy creature named Furlecia, voiced by Jonathan Van Ness, and a fish-man named Marcellus, voiced by Brett Gelman. Can Arlo find his real father and avoid the grasp of some hillbilly hunters voiced by Jennifer Coolidge and Flea?

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So, what do I love about this movie? Well, I love its animation. This is some of the most entertaining 2D animation I have seen for some time. It’s fluid, bouncy, it squishes, it squashes, it stretches, and you get the idea. It takes all of the elements that make great cartoony 2D animation and puts it through the wringer. It’s at the very least some of the most fun animation I have seen, and I can see this film being used for classes in animation and character movements. It checks off a lot of boxes with those two elements. It might take a little more from more recent animation trends, but it has plenty of theatrical and artful elements, and boy when the musical numbers kick in, the animation gets even better. The colors, the designs, the lighting, and so on, it’s all straight As across the board.

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In terms of themes, Arlo‘s biggest one is finding your place in the world. It’s sprinkled with other themes like abandonment, father and son bonds, discrimination, and self-love. What helps carry these themes is a fairly strong cast of characters. Arlo is a ball of joy and optimism and it never gets too annoying. I think it’s refreshing to see a lead character in something that’s not so teeth-grindingly defeatist and cynical. The other main characters are also good at bouncing off of one another, and they make for an enjoyable band of goofy individuals. I think some get a little more development than others, but due to the fact there is a TV series coming out, I’m sure it’s going to expand upon them there. Even the hillbilly hunters have a few funny lines. The music is also incredible. The background tunes are great, and the original songs are real knee slappers. They are easily some of the catchiest tunes you will find in a more recent musical. It’s also, simply put, nice to see Netflix make an honest-to-goodness animated musical. I know they have more than this one, but with some of their films, their musical song always seems like it’s there for a Best Original Song nominee and they don’t always fit the films they are in. Every song in Arlo though? They fit and are major parts of the story. 

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Sadly, it’s time to get down and talk about my criticisms of this film. First up on the docket, I find some of the characters lack development or purpose behind the plot. Like Marcellus doesn’t do a whole lot once he is introduced. I’m sure they will have more time in the TV show to be fleshed out, but since that’s not out yet, there isn’t a whole lot to some of the main cast. I also found the third act to be a little clunky in its execution. It still has some really strong moments and the themes of finding yourself and the battle against changing who you are to be accepted is great! It has plenty of striking visuals, touching moments, and great surreal jokes, but the transition of when Arlo finally gets to New York doesn’t feel as flowing as the previous two thirds. Now then, let’s move on to the villains or I guess obstacles would be more fitting. The hillbilly hunters do not do a lot in the film outside of the first and third act, and by the end of it, they were more like challenges that got in the way and an igniting point at the end for Arlo, but they could have been handled better. The way they wrap up their arc is a touch underwhelming, and some things about them are not explained well. Or at least, I didn’t find them explained well. Their final scene is funny, and maybe they will do more in the TV series, even though if we go by what happens in the end, that wouldn’t make a lot of sense, but we will have to see where the show goes in terms of story. 

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While the third act might stumble a little, I still enjoyed my time with Arlo the Alligator Boy. It has incredibly vibrant animation, catchy songs, likable characters, it has fun offbeat humor, a distinct personality, and is an original IP from the ground up. It’s also a super sweet and earnest film that I think everyone will love watching. It comes out on April 16th, and if you love original 2D animated films, this is one of this year’s best. Well, now it’s time to dive back into the pool of screeners! Again, I’m sorry I can’t tell you what it is, but I think you will dig what I’m going to be talking about next. 

Thanks for reading the review! I hope you all enjoyed reading it! If you would like to support my work, make sure to share it out, and if you want to become a Patreon supporter, then you can go to patreon.com/camseyeview. I will see you all next time!





Rating: Go See It! 

The Other Side of Animation 75: Nerdland Review

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(If you like what you see, you can go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work on video game reviews, editorials, lists, Kickstarters, developer interviews, and review/talk about animated films. If you would like, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com. It would help support my work, and keeps the website up. Thanks for checking out my work, and I hope you like this review!)

WARNING/PARENTAL HEADS UP: This film is full of crass adult humor. Parental Discretion is advised. I Hope you all like the review!

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Well, it’s a new year with new animated films, big and small, to talk about. So, for the start of 2017, I decided to check out an adult animated comedy that got a small release back in 2016, and is now widely available for everyone to see. What grand film am I talking about? Well, I would love to lead you all into a false sense of security, and say I’m reviewing the critically acclaimed film festival winner The Red Turtle, but since this is a written article, and you see the title, we are reviewing Nerdland. This 2D-animated adult comedy is from the minds of writer Andrew-Kevin Walker, the writer of Seven, director Chris Prynoski, the director of Freaknik: The Musical, Motorcity, Megas XLR, and worked on Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, and animation studio Titmouse. It was a film that was pitched multiple different times as a live-action film, shorts, and even a television series. It’s now made, got shown off back in 2016 at some film festivals, and is now available on Demand and DVD/Blu Ray. You can probably see that the film has a rather low rating from most critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but what do I personally think? Let’s find out.

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The film stars two friends, an aspiring actor named John, voiced by Paul Rudd, and an aspiring screenwriter named Elliot, voiced by Patton Oswalt. While trying and failing to become famous, they decided to do whatever it takes and do whatever crazy bit of comedic shenanigans to be had to be Hollywood-famous. The journey might be dangerous and crude, but they are willing to do whatever it takes!

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So, as a raunchy animated comedy aimed at older teens and young adults, how does it hold up? Even as I write this, I don’t hear a lot of people talk about this movie. It’s definitely a comedy that wants to be crude, but have a subtle stab at the Hollywood and entertainment scene. Does it all work? Unfortunately for me, it’s very hit-and-miss. Much of the crass humor falls flat, and while you can find some jokes or references to real-life Los Angeles, and you can tell the world they live in is a very cynically-painted world, it rings hollow, since everyone is already pretty cynical about it. Some of the background jokes and alternative comedic banter between our two leads or the other characters can be very funny, but it’s not consistent enough to get through the slow or unfunny parts. It doesn’t help either that the plot feels like it’s slogging through the down parts, resulting in a partly boring experience when the jokes or gags aren’t onscreen. The cast of characters is also pretty middling. A lot of them are either there to take jabs at society, or to progress the story. It’s a shame, too, because there are many funny people in this movie, Paul Rudd, Patton Oswalt, Hannibal Buress, Mike Judge, Reid Scott, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindhome, Cree Summer, and you get the idea. This should be so much better than it actually is.

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Despite it being a middle-of-the-road comedy experience, what do I like about the film? The animation is great. It’s fluid, expressive, rough, and even when you can tell the animation gets clunky, it still looks good. It’s a film with a visual style of its own. I enjoyed the voice cast, because even if the script doesn’t bring in the most consistent laughs, the actors they hired sound like they are having fun. Then again, when you have actors like Paul Rudd and Patton Oswalt, you know they are going to do great, even if the end product isn’t the best.

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It’s a shame that I was actually looking forward to this film. It has a great cast and a visual style that stands out. If the comedy and story was more fulfilling, I think I would have enjoyed the movie more. Who knows, maybe if more people see it, they will say how clever all the jokes are, but since no one barely knows about this film anyway, I doubt that will happen. Still, even though the first 2017 animated film is not the best, considering that the first animated film from 2016 was Norm of the North, Nerdland isn’t a bad way to start the year. How about next time, we look at Chico & Rita? Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the article, and I will see you all next time!

Rating: Rent it!