There are tiers of animated movies. There are the movies that are absolute gold whether you are a child or an adult. This includes the likes of Up, Sprited Away and Shrek 2. Then there are the great but flawed movies which are enjoyable but not to the same level as the above. Below that are the fine for children, movies which have enough about them to be entertaining to their core audience of kids but make us adults have an headache. Then there is the bottom tier. The dreck made for a cheap buck that will make children want revenge on the parents who made them watch it in the worst. That’s what we are dealing with today with Monster Family. Let’s get through it together.
Trying to get her dysfunctional family together, Emma (Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves) wants to go to a family monster party. However she accidentally calls the real Dracula (Jason Isaacs, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) who quickly falls in love her. In an attempt to make her his bride, he curses her to become a vampire as well. But by accident he also curses her family to turn into various monsters as well.
Where to start? Because there’s a lot of terrible things to discuss. Ok, let’s go with the voice acting. Because even though the voice actors are all English, it all sounds like terrible English accents. I don’t know how this has been managed but the talented actors involve sound like an American trying to be posh well spoken English folk. It just sounds bizarre. And there’s no need for it anyway. The family live in America and while it’s never stated where they live exactly, it’s obviously New York City. So not the sort of family you would expect to have terrible English accents. It’s just a set of bizarre performances from the entire cast which make no sense and start the movie off on the wrong foot.
And there’s more problems with the voice acting with how they are matched with the movie. This movie is a joint between Britain and Germany and it appears that the animation on the speaking was designed for the German dub. Either that or whoever’s job it was to match the English dub to the speaking animation decided to go on holiday rather than do the work he was told to do. Because every few minutes there’ll be a moment where the character model is saying something but the voice coming out is saying something completely different. I don’t know if this is just something you have to deal with if you watch dubs rather than subs but I’ve seen enough Japanese anime in my life to know that it is possible to match voice tracks to animation designed for other languages. It’s just a technical blunder which makes the movie look amateurish.
The actual content is embarrassing as well. This is your standard boring family plot where all four of the family members have problems which will miraculously get solved by the fact they have been turned into monsters for a short amount of time. Honestly this sort of storytelling is so dull and the actual problems have been done so many times before. Oh look, the young boy Max (Ethan Rouse, X Company) is nerdy but not brave. Never seen that before. Oh the teenage girl Fay (Jessica Brown Findley, Winter’s Tale) only cares about looking pretty so she can get boys? Well turning her into a bandaged Mummy is going to sort that right out. It’s just so tired and boring and I know kids can cope with these sort of clichés better than adults but even they must get bored.
And the animation is just stale as well. I can’t say it is outright terrible, having watched Food Fight it’s hard to describe animation which doesn’t cause nightmares as terrible, but it’s also very standard and nothing impressive. It’s the sort of thing you see in a children’s TV show but to me, that’s as offenseive as being outright bad. You have a movie which you’ve piled a decent amount of money into and are planning to put into theatres. And yet instead of making it look good, you make it look so boring and so meagre that a dentists wallpaper is more interesting to look at. When you have movies such as Coco and LEGO Batman which both have distinctive and amazing looks, you can’t come to the party with something that looks like this. It’s like showing up to a cosplay event wearing a bed sheet pretending to be a ghost. It looks embarrassing next to the guy whose made an actual working Iron Man suit.
And yes, I do usually say nice things here and I know I broke this rule with my recent review of Book Club and I don’t want to do so again so soon but I need to continue my rant. Because let’s make this clear, this movie is worse than The Emoji Movie. I hated that film but a lot of that was due to the existence of a movie based on emojis and the fact it was basically an advert for apps for kids. But in terms of actual quality, this is far worse. It’s messages may not be bad, but it is not sure who the villain of the story is throughout most of the movie, it’s humour is just the worst and wouldn’t get a laugh out of the most giggle prone person and in the end it’s just really dull. And the fact studios think they can release kids films of this standard and laziness and think they can make money is just insulting. Luckily this movie flopped so this shouldn’t be a franchise. It should also send a messgae to any other studio hoping to make quick money off a terrible animated movie.
I was deadly serious when I said Monster Family was worse than The Emoji Movie. I know that movie causes retching on its mention but this is worse on every level other than the sickening levels of adverts. This has worse animation, worse voice acting, a worse and more derivative story and will make you feel even worse by the end. This is horrific to sit through and you should spare your children from having to watch it.