Friday, 12 September 2014

IMBd Bottom 100 Review – Number 73 Kis Vuk

Foxes in trapezes, evil stepmothers, bears driving cars, handicapped children not being totally useless wastes of space. This movie has all that, and almost nothing else. When even bad acting has been removed from the shitty movie equation, that's when you really get down to brass tacks.. and let me tell you, ladies and gentledudes, brass tacks is not a good place for this flick to be. No point in concealing it longer. We're looking at...

Vuk Jr's dad tells him to go on without him. Vuk Jr knows there is a time to roll over and a time to stand up and fight. This isn't the former.


It's no secret here at the totallywhatevs.com offices, that acrobatic foxes, drunk driving and handicapped kids are high on our list of things that are too awesome for words. We just can't get enough of it at home. Which is why we turn to movies in order to sedate the ever growing hunger. That's why, when Kis Vuk came along, we immediately dropped our secular ways, and acknowledged that there might just be a God. Because how could our prayers have been answered otherwise? Kis Vuk has everything you'd expect from a Hungarian CG movie. I'm inclined to end the review here, because what else needs to be said really? It's only because our sponsors would throw a tantrum, that we soldier on. Kis Vuk it is then. Did I mention it was a Hungarian CG flick about foxes? Well in case I didn't, let me just settle this once and for all. This movie is CG, as in CGI as in 3D animation. And it's from Hungary. The country. I'm as prejudiced as the next guy, so naturally I assume that any country east of Germany are still living in abject poverty and misery. Since I'm also rational and generally really awesome, I know that this isn't the case. Incidentally I met my first Bulgarian person just a few days ago. Very nice lady. Even if she did actually move out of Bulgaria, I'm sure she had perfectly logical reasons motivating her. Yeah she's from Bulgaria and not Hungary. But still... right?

Wheel chair kid and dog. They are angry. About something I can't remember. Look at that dog though. Annoying. 

So let me just go on record here, and say that making an animated feature film is no easy feat by any means. So I can't but be impressed with the craftmanship invested in Kis Vuk. I don't mean impressed as in I thought things looked well here or were nice to behold. Everything looks pretty awful. But even so, despite it's unbelievably childish look, I understand, that it must've taken quite a while and many man hours to complete it. I do want to give credit where credit is due. Sadly that very generic observation is about the only positive thing I can say for Kis Vuk. When looking it up, I noticed swell names like Bill Nighy and Miranda Richardson on the voice cast list. I am a big fan of Bill Nighy's diction. His voice is magnificent. Miranda Richardson can be drilly, but still it's a familiar face... voice... whatever. So you can perhaps understand why my heart dropped, when I understood that the version I had acquired included the original Hungarian voice talent. I'm not adverse to foreign films, as long as I have subtitles. And I did in this case, but they were made, I think, by somebody for whom english is not the first, second or possibly even the third language. Granted, we all have different levels of language comprehension. But it has always been my firm belief, that if you feel like you want to make subtitles for a movie or a TV show, at least have the common decency to get it proof read or run through some kind of spelling- and/or grammar checker. I don't understand Hungarian by any stretch of the imagination, so I had to rely purely on the subtitles. And let me just be frank here and say, that they sucked. They sucked a donkey's phallus. Lots of weird words that didn't make sense, in or out of context and many places in which whole sentences were either omitted or just incomprehensible. I'm not kidding myself enough to believe I missed anything vital but even so, those subs weren't helping. Still, I suppose, better than not having any subtitles at all, as in the case with the Hungarian movie from a few months ago (If you call yourself a follower of this blog, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you don't call yourself a followed of this blog, you should probably look into becoming one).

Circus dude and his magic staff of deceit. And his eyes of purest cocaine. 

Kis Vuk does actually deal with foxes and circus and acrobats and several other things of that ilk. Vuk Jr, or Jack Jr. as he is called in the English version, is the son of Vuk. So far everything makes perfect sense. Vuk is a hero of the forest for unspecified reasons, and Vuk Jr. wants to be like him. This also makes sense, and I can relate. Then hunters arrive and start murdering animals left and right. Vuk Jr's mom is killed, with him watching. And his dad is tranquilized. Bummer, right? Well not really. Vuk Jr. seems totally upbeat about the whole thing. Vuk is taken to the local circus where he is thrown in with the other animals, some of which are also foxes, other of which include a bear, a toothless lion and a pickpocketing monkey. They are all acrobats and actors in the circus, that is run by a dude and his evil wife. It seems that a circus can be run by one of two people. Either it's a jovial but somewhat inept grandfather type, or it's a mean spirited moustached whiskey dicked bastard who seems hellbent on being a douche no matter the social consequences. In this case, it's the latter only with the added twist of having a wife who's also a bitch. We never get to understand why they are this way. And I suspect that's because the filmmakers knew we wouldn't really give a fuck. They were of course right.

Whipping a kid in a wheel chair. Gotta hand it to those Hungarians... they do know quality when they make it. 

If you're now wondering when I'll get to the handicapped kid subplot, just calm your tits please. All in good time. As it happens I'm going to discuss that now, but only because I wanted to, not because you were bitching about it. There is indeed a handicapped boy in this flick, and he is the son of a local inventor type dude. For some amusing reason, this wheelchaired kid is a lepidopterist. I find this amusing, because chasing after a butterfly across meadows and through thick undercrofts are bound to be difficult in a wheelchair. However, I suppose observing them from a distance would qualify too, so I'll just shut up about that. This kid lepidopterizes his way to the circus grounds and meets the daughter or step daughter or whatever of the circus owner. She's not a bitch, amazingly enough, and together with Kis Vuk they start the process of freeing the animals from their cages. This starts a whole segment of crazy animal doing human things shenanigans that has to be seen to be believed really. It felt weirdly moving, if we agree that by moving we mean moving towards an abyss from which nothing fun can escape. And I think we might as well agree on that. I'm not going to delve too much on the rest of this film, in case you are frantically searching for a way to secure your own copy, and don't want it spoiled. But of course it all ends happily. For almost everybody. Vuk Jr's mom was shot outright, and despite him having seen it, and his dad foxnapped to a circus, he's pretty chuffed with the whole process by the end. Apparently parental suffering isn't something Vuk Junior gives two fucks about.

Vuk Jr almost snuffed it. Thankfully wheelchair kid's dad is a scientist and also, apparently a veterinarian. 

I have very little to say about the crew and people involved in this production, because looking over their names gives me very little to work with. I understand that the target demographic for this particular movie does not include myself. And as I mentioned earlier, I understand the amount of work involved in producing a CGI feature length film. It's precisely for both those reasons that I don't understand why Kis Vuk is something that exists. I'll concede that kids may like it, but with the amount of work that went into it, why not up the ante just a mite and grab include more demographics. It could so easily have, but didn't. Bad writing I say. The dialogue sucked, the songs sucked, the story sucked. Yes, it all sucked. I'll willingly forgive shitty animation any day of the week, if what happens and how it happens is fun or engrossing. It was not. It was so basic, that it made me feel bad for the animators that spent time crafting, what can only be, a black spot on their resumés. Perhaps some of them made this hoping to use it as a way into Dreamworks or Pixar. I hope not. But if they did, perhaps they should make notes pinpointing precisely what they did, and more importantly, didn't do in this production.

Henchmen. Every circus has 'em. 

Overall it's easy to hate Kis Vuk. So I went with that. It's just not a good movie. It fails to provide anything meaningful, which isn't really surprising what with it being a B100 movie and everything. The voice work could've been improved too. Granted the dialogue wasn't really that great, but every line was delivered with no force or poignancy. Just bleh. Like it didn't matter. And perhaps it didn't. It didn't to me, so why would it to them. We are treated to images of the actors in the voice booths laughing and giggling during credits. Yes, they had fun making it. That is important. To nobody. It didn't work. It just did not.  

Patrons of the circus which means they are local villagers. No wonder things have gone to shit recently. 

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