UglyDolls Movie Review (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

The CGI adventure is told without the financial resources of leading animation studios UGLYDOLLS an inspiring story, at least for children, about what it’s like to stand up for yourself. We reveal more about the film in our review.

Lucky Bat, Wage, Moxy, Babo and Ugly Dog

The plot summary

The UglyDolls are cuddly toys for which something has gone very wrong in the toy factory: some are missing an eye, others have one too many or just a few teeth too few for a radiant smile. But no matter how imperfect the Uglys look, they certainly don’t lack for fun and joie de vivre in Uglyville. Only the cheeky Moxy (Lina Larissa Strahl) firmly believes that there is much more waiting for her somewhere out there. That’s why she convinces her colorful friends Lucky Bat, Wage, Babo and Ugly Dog to leave the familiar valley and venture on a journey of discovery to the other side of the mountain. Her path takes her to the “Institute for Perfection”, where flawless dolls are trained for use in the children’s rooms of the “big world”. Moxy wants to join in immediately, but the strict instructor Lou does everything he can to get rid of the UglyDolls quickly. But the courageous Moxy doesn’t give up her dream of being loved by a real child one day…

UglyDolls Movie Meaning & ending

For readers who don’t have children between the ages of four and ten at home, we certainly have to explain the “UglyDolls phenomenon” in more detail: The misshapen stuffed dolls are the upstarts of the toy brand of the same name, which was created by David Horvath and in the early 2000s Kim Sun Min was launched. The character designers, who are now married to each other, created the colorful plush figures as a mixture of cuddly toys and dolls, whose appearance was intended to make a statement for visual individualism beyond any ideals of beauty. There are now dozens of different UglyDoll models. They all have bright colors, circular eyes and a wide mouth twisted into a smile. Their body structure is consciously different from the proportions of any animal or human form. In addition, each doll has its own name and character. Based on this description of the UglyDolls, who are now playing the main roles in the film of the same name, one suspects that the zeitgeist really demands a screen adaptation. “UglyDolls” is like he children’s version of the “love your body” comedy “I Feel Pretty” . And at least this comparison is clearly won by the CGI adventure – but that’s not too difficult.

The Amy Schumer comedy was one of the first films to address the so-called “body positivity” movement. This is a trend that actively distances itself from the 90-60-90 beauty ideal and propagates that every person should feel beautiful in their body, regardless of their dimensions. Now, “UglyDolls” is certainly not as analytical as the documentary “Embrace,” which also caused a stir , but since the directing duo of Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein so consistently trashed “I Feel Pretty,” it alone feels like it The basic idea in “UglyDolls”, which advocates individuality, is surprisingly much more homogeneous than in “I Feel Pretty”, which is vastly superior in terms of production technology. The film carefully and firmly introduces a very young generation in particular to the idea that one should not allow oneself to be impressed by the prevailing ideas of a body-obsessed society in order to be happy. Underlined by a handful of catchy musical numbers in which the Uglydolls sing about contentment, individuality and a friendly sense of togetherness (all of which are significantly more important than the question of how you look), director Kelly Asbury (“The Smurfs – The Lost Village”) opens up courage in an age-appropriate manner; Courage to come out of yourself, to stand up for yourself and also to choose your friends based on their inner values.

Compared to leading animation houses such as Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks Animation, Kelly Asbury only had a fraction of the financial resources available for his film. “UglyDolls,” which was produced by Reel FX Studios (“Free Birds – Eat Us Another Day”), cost around $50 million and was originally supposed to be directed by none other than Robert Rodriguez (“Alita: Battle Angel”) , for which he now only acts as a producer. For comparison: the fourth “Toy Story” film consumed four times this budget. Unfortunately, this is clearly visible in “UglyDolls”, which cannot shine with such detailed trick design as its expensive models. At the same time, those responsible make the best of it by channeling all creative diversity into the design of the dolls, whose brightly colored appearance dominates the film. The fact that the supporting characters and the backgrounds, with their minimalist appearance, are very different from the UglyDolls is actually understandable in terms of content: Here, the spotlight is finally on those who are very different from their surroundings. And with this message you will definitely leave the cinema feeling elated at the end – even if the musical numbers are so generic because of their uniform sound and the story is ultimately so predictable.

Conclusion: Visually, “UglyDolls” can’t even come close to keeping up with the big names in the animated film segment. The story could also have used some fine-tuning and creative touches here and there. But the message that it’s not what’s on the outside but what’s inside that counts is true, even though its simplicity is primarily aimed at a very young audience.

“UglyDolls” can be seen in USA cinemas from October 3rd.

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