The family film that got way too family, the groods
Now I feel like one of those people who won't write until I see something that's not working.
I didn't have high hopes when I saw the advertising... but I like Dreamworks, I like their films in most cases just like I like Pixar. So I gave it a chance, paid my 13 dollars to see this "family" film in 3D.
I noticed only adults laught, none of the children were laughing in the theater .. but my sample size is extremely small so it's not quite as accurate.
But apparently even though this film is full of slap sticks, nothing was funny enough to build up too much, except with a few cough ups exceptional funny moments. Particular with the Belt character. He's probably my favorite in the film.
I think the reason why this film didn't work was character writing... There are so many characters, so there's no focus. The most interesting part was probably between the struggle between the Dad and the New Guy.
Yet the show was originally going to focus on the Dad with the Daughter.
1 hour 20 mins.... there's not enough time for 2 conflicts to build up and be both resolved convincingly.
I wished they spent more time on the writing and storyboard and figure out their true focus on this film.
I personally thought... if the New Guy wasn't quite that nice and innocent, play a bit of anti-hero and be a bit more strategic with politic within the family, he can easily play the simple minded family around a bit more toward his own advantage despite their brute might, his position to get in between the father-daughter conflict would be more interesting.
Perhaps the audience will also side with the Dad, not so one sided with Guy hoping for "NEW" things, really see the DANGER the Dad was so desperately trying to keep the family away from and truly make that survival sense shine... and thus will make the big reveal about the Guy's background much more intense and more convincing, leading upto the final moment.
However, I did find the last resolution to the Dad's plot a bit weak..... even though it's entertaining.
This film also has some really really bad one liner... I understand it's writing a bunch of uneducated people, but the writer could never quite get into their skin. If there's going to be bad one liner, make that funny. Don't make it important.
There's a real threat here, a real threat any Dad, any family would be scared of... The earth is changing, it's giant earthquake, the end of the world....
The Groods also failed to build up the sense of danger in the scope of the film when in the background, the world is changing, something very intense is happening, the characters gave no sense of that.
It felt as if the writers themselves can't believe in the world. Playing with survival and danger.... they wanted to bring in a comedic tone to the whole thing, which is not a bad route to take for stories... but failing to build up on the conflict is a killer for the film. The conflict in the film can be introduced with one line... It's WAY too simple. I understand its a film for children, but adults are there to help them learn. I feel the film makers can feel more at ease about bringing in slightly more complicated situation in a family we will see. Children see the complicated adults everyday.... why not give them a chance to learn something new? I believe that's what children films are for.
Clearly, the story failed to resonate .. it's really regretful because the visual is stunning, the colors and imaginative designs of the creatures were a lot of fun, and they have a cute touch to them, I also really enjoyed the 2D in the beginning. I do find the 2D style a lot more charming than the 3D adaption of the 2D character. I would have loved seeing more work on the style too of the 3D film.
If only they worked on the story more.... The Groods have something interesting to offer, but thoroughly missed the gold nugget that could have made it a moving film.
I also feel this is probably a script right before a really good script, if only it was worked on it more.