Last Saturday, I woke up strangely feeling a little more patriotic than usual (that, and quite bored too) and decided to take Collin out to watch one of the more highly anticipated local 3D animation films to open in recent times – Seefood.
So off we went to the nearest cinema and checked out the screening times. I was also delighted to see Citibank having this Buy 1-Free-1 promo on Saturdays. Hmmmm…perhaps should go for movies on Saturdays more often. 😛 Anyways, it was either Seafood or The Lorax. I brought Collin to check out both posters – one showed a scary looking cat-like creature and the other featured a cute fish and a shark in a robot-suit. Easy choice. Heh.
Sorry…back to the quick review. In brief, Seefood is a story about two sharks, Julius, a white-tipped shark and Pup, a bamboo shark, that happens to be best friends. One day, some humans dive into the ocean and take home all the egg sacks from Pup’s reef. Angry and determined, Pup journeys onto land to rescue the eggs. When Julius finds out about Pup’s daring mission, he gets some help from Octo (an octopus, obviously) to build him a machine that would enable him to walk on land, so that he can go and help Pup and bring his best friend home.
With some really cute characters, original plot, and a shark walking on land, this should have all the makings of a hit movie, right?
Unfortunately, Seefood turned out to be one of the WORST animated movies I have ever seen – suffering from a very poor script that doesn’t do justice to the very good animations that had been put into this film. It’s like they have a ‘Everything That Could Make a Movie Bad’ checklist and efficiently ticked every box on it.
Perhaps it would be better for me to start with the positives first….hmmm…let’s see….the plot was relatively original, the animation skills were really good – comparable to many international 3D animations, many cute characters – good for toys/plush/marketing campaigns, plenty of Malaysian identity inserted.
So, where did the movie go so wrong? OH, let me count the ways..
1. Complex storyline. Whilst it’s exciting enough to have a shark walk on land, I have no idea why they decided to throw in some sideplot about some factory polluting the sea with some industrial waste and some strange, mean sepent and his creepy looking spider-like goons from the deep? If the stories were well connected, it would have made more sense. Instead I was left baffled as to why these subplots were there. It’s a KIDS movie! Try to keep the plot simple, OK?
2. Poor Film Editing. Many segments throughout the movie seemed to end abruptly, causing me to go “Huh? What just happened?” before they cut to another segment. Sigh.
3. Loose Endings. This probably concerns all those confusing subplots as well. I was totally lost on the conclusions of all subplots. I mean whilst it is good to finish the main story well, we must not lose focus to tie up all endings as well. I felt the subplots were poorly concluded.
4. Humourless Dialogue. One of the weakest points of the movie was its inability to make the audience LAUGH. And for a KID’s movie, that is the LEAST it is expected to do! The dialogue was bland and un-natural. And if the lines didn’t make me laugh, there wasn’t enough slapstick to tickle the kids either. It was not surprising there were only minimal chuckles heard from the full-house cinema. If I was walking past the cinema hall, I would have guessed a thriller movie was screening!
5. Moral Message? Ever since Happy Feet showed the world how effective a moral message embedded into a good film for kids can be, many other films have tried to emulate that. When Seefood introduced a subplot involving a factory spewing industrial waste, I thought it was a good byline that would eventually carry a strong message about the evils of sea pollution, etc. Sadly, the moral message that I think the writers/director wanted to project didn’t quite take off as planned.
6. Draggy Pace. For a film that is selling its promos on a ‘shark walking on land’, it sure took a great deal of time before that actually took place. My advice? The shark on land aka fish out of water (literally) segments should have gotten longer screen time and more humour-based. I mean it’s gonna be the first time a fish is on land. The types of jokes one can play with is almost limitless. Unfortunately, we only got some scene involving a car at the traffic light (as seen in the trailer) and the coconut crabs (boring).
7. Bad Soundtrack. One of the most important component of all good movies is a a good supporting soundtrack…and Seefood sadly lacks this. The accompanying audio was all over the place and lacked the quality to build the tension as required in key scenes. Also missing were some SONGS that could have been used to spice up the film. See how Pixar also incorporates catchy tunes into their movies.
8. Main Message Missing. Usually, one would come out from the cinema with one key message that the film was delivering. For example, Cars 2 stressed on the importance of friendships and Kung Fu Panda 2 highlighted the need to remember who we are in the present moment. Sadly, in Seefood, I didn’t get any key message at all. Was it about friends helping each other? or friends don’t eat friends? I don’t know.
9. Lack Explainations. Much was not explained about the evil looking eel-like fish and the spider-minions, their plot, how they came from, were they mutated products from the industrial waste, etc.
10. Lacked Tension. I recalled there were several action scenes in the movie that was supposed to be edge-of-the-seat stuff. Unfortunately, I felt none of it. Sigh.
Thankfully (for me, at least), Collin said he enjoyed the show although I did notice he was already getting fidgety and restless by the final third of the show.
In summary, I came to watch Seefood, with strong hopes that it could be something groundbreaking for our local animation industry. Unfortunately, what I saw was how a local animation film should NOT be. It’s rather sad that whilst the film has the standard and quality in terms on animation techniques, its poor script and editing made it a terrible film overall.
Do also check out my personal alternative movie script for Seefood …:-P