I never pass an opportunity to review a kids movie based off of a kids toy! Well, actually, that’s not true. I haven’t seen any of the Barbie, Bratz, or Monster High films. That makes me think…is there a Beanie Babies film somewhere? UglyDolls is a film that’s based off of a line of dolls by the same name. Now, please understand that I’ve never heard about this, I just read about it on Wikipedia, which I’m aware is the most accurate source of information that exists. I don’t know, the idea is just that these are childrens’ dolls that are supposedly ugly, but if they’re ugly, they’re a very cute variation of “ugly”. And cute they are.
The free-spirited UglyDolls confront what it means to be different, struggle with their desire to be loved, and ultimately discover that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing because who you truly are is what matters most.STX Films
There’s no sugar-coating it, fellas, this movie is essentially a retelling of the Island of Misfit Toys from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special that airs every winter. This film definitely dives into the idea that these dolls are in this world because they were essentially mistakes that were made when attempting to create “perfect toys”. Their imperfections landed them in Ugly Town, where most of these creatures are perfectly satisfied living, but one idealistic doll wants more out of life than simple contentment. She wants to be loved and to find the perfect life, which means going on an adventure of the unknown and learning what the true definition of “perfect” even is.
Without a doubt, this is a kids movie with a strong moral compass that any kid can learn from. I would say in terms of the story’s message, it’s a cross between Trolls and The Emoji Movie, but these are obviously messages that are revisited multiple times a year, and that’ll probably be true for years to come. There is plenty for kids to appreciate from this film, they’ll probably even love the toe-tapping music, but I doubt parents will really care that much for it. Parents watching with their kiddos won’t be able to catch any messages or hidden jokes that they’ll appreciate.
Looking at the technical elements, you’ll notice that despite the fact that it’s an animated film first and foremost, it’s not really that great when it comes down to graphics or even animation. They kept the bare minimum when it came to necessities, but it is rather bland. Bland when it came to the details on these character’s bodies, like hairs, or eyeballs, background scenery, or the tunnels that are prevalent throughout the film. Those missing details kind of keep the technical elements flat and forgettable. The color spectrum is vibrant enough, but when mixing those colors with different lighting settings, it becomes dull. A lot of movies these days, especially animated films, have a very unique vision when it comes to how lighting mixes with colors and vice versa. This is just a nice assortment of colors in general, without any real thought to how those colors mix with everything else. If that makes sense. That being said, they make up for some of that with their original songs, which help give a unique voice to the film in the same way Trolls did.
Personally, I wished they focused a little more on individualizing these characters. They look different enough, but when it came down to their individual roles adding to the plot, they all begin to blend together. Instead, they all should’ve had their own skill sets, which would’ve helped mold different personality types, but because they didn’t do that, a lot of these characters ended up feeling pretty two-dimensional, and that’s not a cartoon joke. There’s very little development that separates these characters. Think about Toy Story, how each character had something that helped them differ from one another. The cowboy, the spaceman, the dog, the dinosaur, the potato, the race car, the sheep herder, etc. Having these individual traits allowed the film to go in a variety of different directions if it so desired. UglyDolls, on the other hand, works like a flock of geese. There is a leader with a goal, and a small group of followers that trail directly behind, but they have no individuality apart from that. There was only ever one direction they could’ve gone.
Overall, I feel as if this movie ended up being rather traditional in the long run, which is kind of unfortunate, because everything traditional about this movie is due to an area that could’ve easily been improved upon. It’s just like a Christian film – the message behind everything is fine, but that’s not the only thing you need to focus on. Everything still needs a bit of focus.
TOTAL SCORE – 62%
Current 2019 Rankings:
Overall: 23rd Place out of 56 Movies
(In a Tie with Rim of the World)
Animation: 6th Place out of 7 Movies
Comedy: 11th Place out of 22 Movies
Adventure: 11th Place out of 17 Movies
Fantasy: 5th Place out of 11 Movies
Family: 6th Place out of 8 Movies
Musical: In Last Place out of 2 Movies
The following films are closely-related to this film when it comes to the bare bones – how the movie was technically made on a cinematic level. This is based off on how categories and subcategories are scored exactly the same.
It’s rare for any movie to have so many “weird siblings” scores, especially to the degree of these listed movies. All seven of the aforementioned films have two categories rated exactly the same, including all the subcategories found within, which makes up for roughly 42% of the DNA score for UglyDolls. All seven are rated exactly the same for the PEOPLE CATEGORY, and most of the films have everything rated the same for the NARRATIVE ARC category, other than 2 Fast 2 Furious and The Man with One Red Shoe, which scored the same in the ENTERTAINMENT category.
The Immediate Family
(Closest resemblance in only scoring the same in the category total, but the subcategories can be scored differently; minimum of 3 matching category scores; must be the same genre)
Ferdinand came out two years before UglyDolls, and is considered immediate family because it scored the same totals in the BTS, NARRATIVE ARC, & ENTERTAINMENT categories while also being in the same genre as UglyDolls (animation). Note that Ferdinand is scored 8% better than this.
The Distant Cousins
(Same rules as immediate family, but it can be any genre)
Naked came out one year before UglyDolls, and is considered distant cousins because it scored the same totals in the WRITING, BTS, NARRATIVE ARC, & ENTERTAINMENT categories, but also differing from the same genre as UglyDolls (animation). Note that Naked is scored 6% better than this.
PEOPLE SCORE (10/20)
Acting (2/4) | Characters (2/4) | Casting (2/4) | Importance (2/4) | Chemistry (2/4)
WRITING SCORE (7/10)
Dialogue (2/2) | Balance (2/2) | Story Depth (2/2) | Originality (0/2) | Interesting (1/2)
BEHIND-THE-SCENES SCORE (7/10)
Visuals (1/2) | Cinematography (1/2) | Editing (1/2) | Advertising (2/2) | Music & Sound (2/2)
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE (10/10)
Introduction (2/2) | Inciting Incident (2/2) | Obstacles (2/2) | Climax (2/2) | Falling Action (2/2)
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE (3/10)
Rewatchability (1/2) | Fun Experience (1/2) | Impulse to Buy or Own (0/2) | Impulse to Talk About or Recommend (0/2) | Engaging & Riveting (1/2)
SPECIALTY SCORE (25/40)
Kids Movie (10/10) | Family Movie (0/10) | Musical (5/10) | Halfway Decent (10/10)