Hello, Spongey here.
Well…after last time, I think it’s best to wing down with a movie getting flack that no one cares about! There isn’t a whole lot to say about this one going.
Back in 2014, there was The Nut Job. I reviewed it and it was …meh it had some fun ideas and good animation but it wasted them on typical cookie cutter kids stuff that I barely remember. It was so forgettable that I don’t recall much of why it wasn’t that good even after re-reading the review.
I don’t really see why people hated it so much, to me it was just…meh. With last time’s movie I get it, not so much this one. Thankfully, Legends of Oz came around to get worse reviews. Because oh boy is that one worse.
But despite that, the film was a hit so they announced a sequel right away. It was slated for Jan of 2016 before being pushed back to now. It’s worth noting that it’s 2016 slot was taken by Norm of the North.
Between the first and this sequel, this company made Spark which was way worse than Nut Job ever was. But anyway, I actually had some hope for this one. See, Mr Coat (who did a defense video on the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoXVTZ8VKzk ) got to meet the director of the first and it turns out he’s well aware of the hate the first got, and was looking to fix the flaws with the sequels.
Yeah, he seemed to accept the criticism like an adult. Huh. That’s why I had some hope for this one at least being better, if not decent on it’s own.
That director didn’t return for this however, none of the main crew did oddly enough. We’ve got 3 writers, One has nothing other than a recent Cop and a Half Sequel, and another has kids stuff like…Escape from Planet Earth.
Ouch. The last writer is the new director who directed….Escape from Planet Earth. Okay, now I’m a bit worried. Okay, that’s not fair. It was his first film after all.
So will, this improvement on it’s lackluster predecessor or will it drive me nuts? Let’s see.
This, is The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
(From now, the animated reviews will be in the general format like the live action ones. I feel like doing the Ani-Mat style was kinda lame and I feel better doing it in a way where I can get it out quicker. It might come back but for now, this is what I’m doing sorry)
Sometime after the first movie, Surly and his pals are living it up at the nut shop. However, it blows up forcing them back to the park. To make things force, the greedy wants to tear it down to make room for an amusement park, so they all must band together to stop him.
So first I should answer your question? It better than the first move? …Yes. Yes it is. Is it good? ….No. It’s kinda of a mixed bag…of nuts if you will. I’m not sorry. It’s just…okay. Which is impressive enough to be honest.
First off, the animation in the first manged to be better than most smaller films of it’s kind and this one looks even better. The human designs are kind of awkward at times but that’s not a big deal.
The animation on the animals is well done, allowing for solid slapstick. The environments look nice and there’s some really good lightning in this too. It’s nothing groundbreaking but the animators clearly put a lot of effort into making this look good, and it’s a pretty film to look at.
As for the sequel element, other than some added context, you don’t need to see the first one. A fair amount of it’s events are mostly ignored like that one jerkass guy and the human side. It does continue the development of the leads so it does work okay there, but if you haven’t seen the first, you can just jump into this one fine.
But I actually would suggest watching the first before seeing this as honestly, it’s better if you appreciate how they improved as on it’s own, it’s just okay. Let’s talk about the positives of the writing.
There’s thankfully less fart jokes and stuff like that, except for when someone eats their vomit. Ew. Also, no Psy, although they do dance in the credits. The humor manages to mostly alright. Some bad jokes happen but there’s some decent chuckles here and there.
Will Arnett supplies his fair share because he’s awesome but there’s also some amusing slapstick Plus, some fun chase scenes too.
My favorite joke is when Andie tries to start a song but everyone is just like “No. Why”. Thart was honestly pretty great.
The set up here is interesting as Andi feels that Surly shouldn’t be living off the nut shop instead of the park, as they seem to be taking for granted.
This of course is proven to be right when it blows up and they have trouble living off the land and such. There’s an interesting dynamic with the two and their ideals and why they hold them. By the way, they have more of a romance here but it’s at least not overblown like most kids movies.
Surly is still kind of a dick but it’s more understandable this time and his growth is a lot more believable. I can see where he’s coming from and I do like seeing him grow. There are some kinda sweet moments here and there.
There’s one scene I won’t spoil but was surprisingly effective and kind of somber. We know what’s going to happen but it gives more insight into his character that makes him more likable.
It’s nothing complex but it’s appreciated. As much as I dislike the evil developer cliché, I give them credit for using as it a backdrop for this story where Surly learning some lessons. They at least tried to give it more of a reason to be there.
But now we must move on the negatives and why I can’t say this is anything that good as a whole. Nothing is painful to sit through but there’s still some flaws. For one, there’s a pointless romantic subplot with the Maya Rudolph dog (boy she’s having a great year) and the mayor’s daughter’s dog that’s just there to fill time.
It’s not the worst but it didn’t need to be plus. Plus he and the daughter are annoying. Said daughter is voiced by Isabella Moner from Nick’s 100 Things to do before High School.
She was also in Transformers 5. Yeah.
Speaking of the evil mayor, he’s just a typical evil developer. He has his movements, but he’s just cliché. I do like that some people do have an issue with him doing this and he’s not just fully getting away with it 100 percent.
Speaking of, at one point he drives on the sidewalk and even hits a guy but is not arrested like at all. Okay then.
In terms of characters, it’s another movie that mostly focuses on a couple and the rest are just there. Only Surly and Andie matter and the others can be okay but are often just meh. His friend Buddy is there but he’s just a silent friend and only one scene has him being too important.
But my biggest issue is how padded it is. This film is kinda short but it felt longer because it gets sidetracked sometimes and the 3rd act goes on forever. At one point I was wanting it to end because it felt like it should have ended 5 minutes ago.
Plus, the Andie is just dropped for a while so when she pops up, I forgot she was even in this movie. They wrap Surly’s arc okay but in general it doesn’t have the impact It needs because of all this other stuff going on.
Also, Jackie Chan is in this. From the trailers you’d think he’s a big part but he doesn’t show until halfway through and after that scene we don’t see him again until the climax where we now get all his backstory.
He does fine but he does feel forced. The joke of him hating being called cute was kinda dumb and after Zootopia had it be a kiddie racial slur….yeah. Also, some parts could have been handled better.
Like how the nut shop blowing up is treated like a joke with how it happens when having it be a more serious moment would have made it more effective. Certain bits of writing could have been tweaked for a better dynamic too.
There’s no way it was gonna be anything special but they could fixed certain things to make a more well rounded product. I’m just glad it was as “good” as it is given what it’s a sequel to but with the framework I got, it could have been better.
Overall, The Nut Job 2 is alright. I improves on the first one with a more likable lead, better humor, interesting dynamics and solid animation but it doesn’t quite become good due to unnecessary subplots, missed opportunities and going on a bit too long in the 3rd act.
It’s a welcome step up from the first and kids wil certainyl like it, but it’s not good ENOUGH to be a must see. If you got kids, and aren’t too against, go for it. And if you liked the first like Mr Coat, you’ll like it too. But otherwise, it’s a solid rental and it’s it.
It’s on the higher side of okay. There’s far better, and far worse from this year alone. Far better than the director and studio’s previous work certainly. It’s perfectly average, with glimpses of being Decent.
But hey, given what it could have been, I’ll take what I can get. As it is, it’s a vast improvement but it’s still only alright. Worth a look if you’re curious but not something I’ll remembers too much.
Rating: Average (On the higher side, to be fair)
Well, that was a pleasant surprise…even if it’s too flawed to be fully Decent. And yet the reviews are still not too good, with a 20 on RT. While it’s not exactly that good, it does not deserve that. I feel like some are hating it just to hate on it.
But whatever, it is what it is. Next time, an animated film from The Weistein Company. ….