Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Woody Woodpecker (2017) Through the Eyes of Cat

By Cat

Number Rolled: N/A
Movie Name/Year: Woody Woodpecker (2017)
TaglineGet ready for a lesson about the bird and the bees.
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: PG
Production CompaniesUniversal 1440 Entertainment, Universal Animation Studios
ProducersMike Elliott, George Engel, Chris Foss, Lisa Gooding, Greg Holstein, Alex Zamm
DirectorAlex Zamm
WritersAlex Zamm, William Robertson, Daniel Altiere, Steven Altiere, Walter Lantz, Ben Hardaway
Actors:  Eric Bauza, Timothy Omundson, Thaila Ayala, Graham Verchere, Jordana Largy, Scott McNeil, Adrian Glynn McMorran, Chelsea Miller, Sean Tyson
StuntsCurt Bonn, Lisa Chandler, Kevin Fortin, Ivett Gonda, Cameron Hilts

Blurb from IMDbThe hyperactive red-headed bird enters a turf war with a big city lawyer wanting to tear down his home in an effort to build a house to flip.

Cat's Point of View: 

I’ll admit that my first thought upon seeing this title available on Netflix was ‘what in the world?’ I can’t remember any buzz about this movie whatsoever. I would think it would be something that would stick with me, considering I’m a fan of the original series. (I never saw any of the new cartoon series that aired at the turn of the century.) Likely, there hasn’t been much fanfare here in the States since the movie was released ‘straight to video’ here. The theatrical premiere was in Brazil. Apparently the cartoon’s re-runs still play frequently on Brazilian TV networks…but I digress.

I’m a bit on the fence about this film.

Even without trying to recreate a live-action version of any of the show’s episodes (to my knowledge), the film still wasn’t all that original. It felt like most other new-teen-in-town movies with a hefty dose of developing land better left unspoiled and hillbilly numbskull tropes.

One thing that did strike me while watching this movie was that cartoon violence such as explosions, electrocution, and the like feel far more insidious when translated into a live-action framework. I’d imagine that the nearly homicidal mischief along those veins is what earned this comedy its PG rating.

I enjoyed Woody’s fourth wall breaks. Their timing was appropriate and it felt right for the character and his personality. It was interesting, however, that they threw a little bit of a twist in that people weren’t able to understand what Woody was saying. In the cartoon series, this was not the case. People knew what the kooky bird was saying. Here, that was only reserved for the audience. I am not sure about applying such realism to an obviously cartoon bird when things like gravity didn’t seem to consistently apply. That might just be me, though.

The performances were on par with my expectations for the movie. I don’t think anyone’s going to be nominated for awards here, but it was still fun. There were even a few relatively well-known actors. Timothy Omundson (Mission: Impossible III, Psych, Wild Honey) was highly recognizable. I’d seen him last in Galavant (2015-2016). While voice-acting doesn’t always gain visual recognition for a person, the work Eric Bauza (DuckTales, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Star vs. the Forces of Evil) has done in the current cartoon industry is rather awesome.

I watched a good bit of Woody Woodpecker in the 1990’s. Sometimes I even got up early enough to watch the paper carriers delivering down my street in order to catch the show before getting ready for school. Today, I can’t believe I was able to do that – I am most definitely not a morning person. Long story short, though – this cartoon is somewhat dear to my heart. That’s what made it irresistible to pass up the chance to watch the movie for this review. 

All in all, the movie wasn’t horrible. It wasn’t exactly what I’d call ‘cute’ but it was pretty close. I’m not sure that die-hard fans of the red-headed woodpecker are going to love it, but for most purposes it was generally entertaining. 

Speech Available: English
Subtitles Available: English [CC]

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 20%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 66%
Metascore - None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 4.7/10

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2.5/5

P.S. There's an original Woody Woodpecker cartoon short after the end of the credits.

Movie Trailer:

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