Hello, Spongey here.
On August 23, 1997, the first Disney Channel Movie Northern Lights Premiered. Of course, Disney will argue with you on that but Under Wraps also premiered in 1997 so the film doesn’t matter.
That means 2017 is the 20 year anniversary of the DCOM. Just last year they celebrated DCOM 100 and I did something for it. But I want to do something even bigger this time..
So this, August of 2017 (Because October is for Halloween stuff) is DCOM MONTH 3!
That’s right, our 2nd theme month to be done 3 times because of course it is. I just had to do something bigger than just a normal review. God knows Disney is doing nothing for it. They did a blow out for DCOM 100, even though people would debate if it really was but not for something no one could debate.
Ah well. And yes, this is the first theme month on the new non-schedule. And we’re bringing back the weekly thing just for this month. I may do it for most theme months going forward but we’ll see.
To make things even more special, I asked YOU guys what you would like me to cover for this month. I asked you guys to vote and I got a hefty amount, even if only one got more than one vote.
Don’t worry, I use some randomizers to pick what I’d do, rather than go by my preference. Thus, I have 5 solid picks here. Should be a fun month.
We start with one I’ve been meaning to tackle. We’ve covered all the live action DCOM’s based on shows (Not counting Jet Jackson the movie), but we’ve only done one animated one. So we’ll tackle another, the first one!
Sort of. Kim Possible Stitch in Time is sometimes seen as one, sometimes not. It’s techinally 3 episodes together so that makes the first one telling just one full story. So yeah, it’s the first, based on Bruce Smith’s The Proud Family.
I touched on it’s Holiday episodes before. In short, it was the first actual Disney Channel Cartoon, as well as one of the few Disney shows in general to have an African American cast. And for the most part, I like it.
Some of it has aged here and there, and it has cheesy/cliche elements, but I do find it mostly enjoyable. Not my favorite, but still good. It was popular enough to get this DCOM in 2005,. For the most part, I have no idea how fans feel.
I just know some can see it as weak compared to the other animated DCOM’s. I remember watching it when it aired but outside of a few things,i didn’t recall much of it until I watched it for the review.
We got pretty much the same crew for the show in place, except the writers as all 4(!) of them have just done stuff I’ve never heard of one. Except for one that did Ouilja, of all things.
So, did this movie make the series proud? Let’s see.
This, is The Proud Family Movie
After a random sample of the theme song, the movie opens on an island which is shown with bad CGI. We meet Dr Carver, a scientist doing stuff with his assistant who is a mutant peanut person.
Yes. The show was pretty weird but this kind of of thing may or may not be jumping the shark. But oh boy, it gets weirder.
With his machine, he creates a big buff peanut person but it melts down right away. RIP? Then the machine makes noise, they jump away, and end scene. That didn’t really show much nut it’s a mystery opening so whatever.
One thing you’ll notice is the animation, which for the most part is the same as the show. That’s a problem in itself but the quality drops in that opening, being pretty choppy at some bits. When I saw first it, I compared it to the 70’s and while its not quite that bad, its kind of weird even for a TV Movie.
From this point it gets better but still. And yeah there’s less bad CGI too.
Our story truly begins with protagonist Penny Proud who is doing her driving test, with her friends in tow. I’m pretty sure that’s not allowed. And whoops, the bad animation isn’t done as the Car is CG and we see the driver POV as Penny bumps into stuff and boy it looks bad.
Okay, now it gets normal but still, even in a TV Movie, this should not be happening. But anyway, back to the story. There’s this rapper dude called 15 Cent (haw haw) that Penny and friends want to try out to be backup dancers for but Oscar, her Dad, is having none of it.
Yeah, this is one those cliché things I was mentioning. Does it do it well or not? …Eh? Also, Suga Mama has been entering tons of Sweepstakes. That’s semi important.
Penny comes in a bit later with the outfit she wants to try out with.
“Trudy, why is your daughter dressing like a h-”
“a wholesome teenager?””
…You know-for kids!
“I can’t wait to move out of here so I can do whatever I want”
“Hey if anyone’s going to move out of here and do whatever they want, it’s gonna be me!…Of course I’ll bring you with me , honey”
Did I mention Oscar seems to get a lot of the best jokes?
Oscar goes to show his latest peanut invention (the Porknut, yes) to some dudes at a place whose Acronym is WASTE. Lovely. Carver is showing off some of his stuff which includes artificially intelligent jumping peanuts, which as we see do work.
But they turn him down anyway. I don’t care if peanuts are “Passe”, he made peanuts that jump on their own!
“You will regret this decision, trust me gentlemen”
Oh great, you’ve given a villain motivation again. Oscar comes in and shows off his Porknut, and he puts on some stuff Carver dropped (I think) and the nuts multiply.
But they taste bad so he’s kicked out too. Huh, you’d think they’d like it and it would make Carver jealous, but nope, this part is pointless except for alerting Carver of Oscar’s existence.
I guess that’s a big point but shut up.
That night, Penny sneaks out to try out for the dancers and pretty much she and all of her friends suck. She gets mad when her white friend is dismissed (but doesn’t stick up for her other friend that’s here…), so the person changes her mind but kicks Penny out instead.
“That’s not fair, I’m the best dancer here!”
You did not look that much better than the others.
Then the Gross sisters show up because I guess they gotta be here. 15 Cent pops up and apparently he’s that cousin of that friend who is voiced by Orlando Brown because at least one Disney Channel person has to pop up in this. He likes Penny so he wants her in. And spoilers, he actually does like her so yeah, gotta question all this.
He drives her home and Penny, being self aware, suspects he might turn into a dick and put the moves on her. Good on her but he’s not up to anything so whatever. So she kisses him just in time for Oscar to come in and see it. Wah wah.
In this case, I really can’t blame him for being mad. But they make him get unreasonably angry to make him the bad guy in this, which he sort of was before but oh I don’t care. They try to have a bit of give and take here and sometimes it works, other times not so much.
Mom goes up to her room to calm her down, which is a nice moment but Penny is still a bitch and it’s too short. Then Dr Carver shows up at the door.
OSCAR: Sorry my parents aren’t home right now, goodnight!
Told ya he gets the best jokes.
He tells them they won a grand prize, which they believe due to Suga Mama’s Sweepstakes thing. Told you it was important and it’s actually a solid way to explain this.
Said prize is a vacation on some island, and so with a quick transition they head off. A peanut person voiced by Tara Strong welcomes them and we get a bunch of jokes. One of which is a really cliché Gilligan Cut.
They meet Carver who kicks things off with a dance party, which involves a musical number. Oddly enough, not the last one we’ll see. This song is fine, my only problem is that they recycle this same clip of Carver dancing. Ugh.
But even after all that, and a birthday cake that kinda comes from nowhere, Penny is still being a brat about all this. Look, I get it but there are better ways to convey this while making her a bit more likable.
Later, Penny hits it off with Cashew, that Tara Strong Peanut Person which actually does result in a nice moment. It adds a touch of humanity to her.
Carver is talking to Oscar and pitches his idea for living peanut people. Oscar I guess has stuff that can help him create big peanut warriors, and he wants to strike a deal. They do the gag where he’s excited but they calmly says he’s interested.
Penny shows up with Cashew and Oscar checks to see if he’s a boy in another big you know for kids gag. Oh, and Suga Mama tries to seduce Carver. Lovely.
“I’m not wearing my swim trunks”
“What a coincidence…neither am I”
…Okay, moving on!
Penny sneaks out to make her even more likable and a bit later Oscar accepts Carver’s offer even though he hasn’t quite told Trudy yet. Yeah, so far Trudy’s the most likable and smart person here.
However, Oscar says “The secret formula stays on my 50” which does not make him happy. With all this talk of Secret Formula, I’m expecting a Plankton team up. Carver decides to reveal he is evil and tortures Oscar to get the formula.
It doesn’t work which is good on him I guess. So instead Carver breaks with Peanut Clones of his family. We started out crazy and yet this is still some insane shark jumping here. Also, did Where’s Perry rip this off?
The clones will go home and search for the formula, even though there a million different ways he could do this. Through a mishap, Penny ends up with the clone family and Clone Penny ends with the real family. Hilarity Ensues.
Oscar escapes I guess and tells his family about this and they don’t believe…but they are still with him following this one peanut guy in the next scene anyway. The editing is kind of confusing here.
Oh, and neither family notices that their daughter is not exactly human/a clone, because of course.
On the bright side, Clone Oscar says yes to be a “Spare Change” Dancer because we gotta bring that plot back I suppose. Yeah, this is a big contrived way to do a “Be Careful what you wish for” thing, even though we could have gotten into this quicker.
Where’s Al Rooker when you need him? ….Don’t ask.
Anyway, Clone Mom has learned Street Talk and Clone Suga Mama speaks Spanish. The first one was explained but the latter….i don’t know.
The movie slows down at this point with how they show both family’s doing stuff. Some of it fits in the story, and some of it is just filler. Like this part where Clone Family goes to some kind of sports thing.
There’s some good jokes but it goes on too long and really adds nothing in terms of the actual story. It does show how the clones are being distracted from the mission I get, but there have to be easier ways to show that than an overlong scene like this.
Eventually we get back to the real family as they meet the REAL Dr Carver.
Yeah, the one we’ve been dealing with is actually just a clone. Basically, Carver experimented with Peanut Cloning and made his clone on purpose but after being left in the sun a bit too long, he pretty much turned evil and wanted to do evil Peanut experiments.
That’s about complicated as I was expecting. Not a whole to say to that except fill on the plot holes this likely has yourself.
They head but Fake Carver shows up as Clone Penny alerted him. And they STILL can’t figure out this isn’t the real Penny. Fake Carver doesn’t even explain it! Speaking of Penny, the real one’s life has gone to shit with the clone family being as silly as they are.
I already talked about the angle they are going for here so moving on. I do wonder why they are only NOW spending time looking for the formula. Their search ends as Clone Penny calls in and says they have the real penny and the formula is in her necklace.
Kind of a dumb spot but most people wouldn’t consider it so okay. Clone Oscar follows Penny to Rehearsal and after making creepy pedo faces, the instructor person is impressed with his moves. Because we clearly didn’t need more filler. It’s this of all things that makes Penny snap and realize how shitty all of this is.
But because we can’t spend too much time on real moments, Penny finds out that Cashew stowed away which gives her an okay way to find out that her real family is still on the island. She thinks that is ridiculous.
I’d make a comment but right after they reveal themselves so at least she finds out the hard way. Through one the babies speaking up with the voice of Keith David. Who only gets the one line. What a waste.
Penny escapes and tells her friends.Thankfully, Cashew is there to be evidence. Right away they are like ”Okay, we’ll join you”. It took over an hour for the friends to do anything but at least they did something. Although it does keep the focus on the family this way at least.
Back on the island, Fake Carver has the formula (somehow, maybe I missed something) and creates his peanut warriors. I like this job sometimes when I type stuff like this.
“I will rule the world…after I sing my song”
“I know this fool ain’t about to sing”
Nice. Yeah, we get a villain song because why not. It’s far from the best villain song ever, but it’s pretty decent. It’s a bit too slow for my tastes but perfectly enjoyable. Penny and her friends arrive on the island and some peanut guys get in their way.
The only way to get past them is with …Battle Dance. I…whatever. I guess it makes that subplot relevant but it’s still pretty stupid. After that, the family is rescued and they make the Oscar clone turn on the other clones to stop them because I don’t even care anymore.
Fake Carver gets away but Real Carver has this stuff he can inject to turn him/his men into peanut butter. He keeps it in case of emergencies. Obligatory “Why didn’t you use it earlier?!” comment. Yeah being captured might be part of it but still.
Fake Carver invades a sports game and pretty much announces that he’s gonna take over. You know, the guy voicing Fake Carver is clearly having fun here so his scene’s become more enjoyable because of that.
The family and co arrive and Penny gets us into the big climax with Fake Carver. He does the “Join me” stuff every villain ever does but spoilers it fails. Thus, Penny uses the stuff on the peanut warriors and Carver falls off to his Disney villain death…after turning into a Peanut despite not being hit by the stuff.
Okay then. I’ve seen worse climaxes in this “job” at least. 15 Cent tells them it’s part of the show they don’t question because of course. We get a nice moment with Penny and Oscar to wrap up their plot. Not much but it’s something.
Carver leaves and then we get our dance party ending lead by Penny and her crew. This is a decent wrap up compared to other things like this I’ve covered. ,,,But the movie keeps going for a bit.
Yes, we get a random pointless epilogue. But the odd thing is…the animation changes. It becomes actually decently fluid and a nice upgrade from the show. Where the hell has this animation been the whole time?
Suga Mama peeks in the fridge and her dog takes some of this drink Oscar made which makes the dog grow. At this point I’m not surprised but what’s the point of all this? It goes for a bit too, the epilogue is like 3 minutes long and story wise adds nothing except for this giant crap.
It ends with a Giant Suga Mama going into the ocean GodZilla style. What a…way to end things. This was the series finale, by the way. The credits are just a slide show as they wasted their budget on that good animation just there, clearly.
Yeah, this is in the same category as The Even Stevens Movie. It’s mostly just okay but I can’t quite pin down why. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I was expecting more. I am more familiar with this show and all these ideas sound fine in terms of a story but it doesn’t quite reach above…passable.
A lot of does feel like an extended episode. They have the Carver stuff to make more of a movie but a lot of this just kinda dumb. The show is weird so I can give some slack but it can feel a bit forced.
The extended episode thing is clear with how they approach the characters. Only a few really do anything and even then there’s large chunks where they simply walk around and that’s about it. Most will get some lines at least but it’s not exactly well rounded.
No one’s out of character at least, mostly. The story itself is not a bad idea but it’s clear it can’t get itself to the An hour and a Half runtime it is (At2d has more of a story in less time, by the way) so there’s a fair amount of filler or dancing around the concepts.
As cliché as Penny’s plight is, they do at least try to get moments out of it sometimes but they don’t a spend at ton of time on it. I know it’s hard to juggle stuff like that with the bigger picture things but they could have tried harder.
Oscar doesn’t really grow or anything, he just stops being a dick out of nowhere. We could have a had a nice balance of both sides going on a journey like in say Finding Nemo but here, it’s just Penny.
They also could have made her a tad less bratty but that’s not too big a deal. As for other negative things, the animation is inconsistent. Most of the time it’s just TV Quality which is fine but earlier on it’s choppy.
Then at the end it’s randomly good! What the heck happened there? As for the positives, the biggest is the acting. The cast manages to raise above the materiel and the better parts come from how they sell certain jokes or bits.
I said that Carver became fun due to his actor and the rest manage to be solid too. And there are good ideas and moments here, it’s just nothing stands out as anything special. The whole thing is just….Okay.
Just like Even Stevens, nothing is too bad or good. It just has flaws keeping it from being Good to me. Actually, that one also the villains tricking a family into taking a vacation…Huh.
I’m not really sure what happened, I think they just couldn’t stretch the ideas out without creating the flaws. I think they needed to add more beyond the basic premise, instead of just having Filler.
It represents the show itself well enough but as a finale and film on it’s own it doesn’t quite cut it. It’s perfectly okay. Passable enough to where I could see some liking it but it’s nothing special.All the other animated DCOM’s (Even A Sitch in Time which is not quite one) are better than this.
This is the first “Real” one so I guess they had to start somewhere. Still, it’s only just okay to me. Eh.
Rating: Average (A Higher Average, to be fair)
A Decent simple start, I think. Next time a movie that’s actually really good.