Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2

Hey, guys.  It's me.

Normally I use a standard format for my reviews where I organize my thoughts under little headers to keep myself from going off on too many tangents.  But this week I'm not doing that.

The obvious joke here would be something like, "Oh, no, Superbabies was so shitty it blew my mind and made me unable to think straight."  But the truth is much more mundane, and infinitely more infuriating: a glitch with Blogger deleted my original review.

So, basically, I'd like to start by saying, "Fuck you" to Blogger.  I don't know why you thought it was a good idea to do that, I don't know why you don't have a "previous drafts" button on your editing window, and I don't know why I keep using you as a platform instead of converting to something more flexible like Wordpress.

I know my reviews aren't really important to most people in the world - hell, let's just round that down to "not important to anyone in the world" - but they still take valuable time out of my day.  And yes, I'm aware of the irony and layers of humor in a situation where I'm pissed off and using the phrase "valuable time" in the context of a review of Superbabies written in fucking 2016.

But listen.  If you had to sit through this movie, you'd be pissed that you lost the review, too.

So, I'm not going to go back and try to recreate the original review.  I don't have the time to do it.  Instead, I thought I'd write as concise a summary of my main points as I possibly can so I at least still have something to share this week.

First, I chose Superbabies this week because of its infamy.  It's consistently been in the Worst 100 Movies on IMDb and usually within the top 10, at that.  But I had a suspicion that the movie itself was probably not actually that bad.  Usually movies with this kind of notoriety are a victim of bandwagon hate.  They're not "good" by any means, but they're usually hated more for some perceived offense on a global scale rather than honestly being the worst of the worst.

And for the most part, I think I was right with that assessment.  The plot, direction, and script for Superbabies are no worse than your average kids' movie.  The thing that makes it worse than average is that the babies are such shitty actors.

I mean.  No, I get it.  I know that they're just babies.  But that's my point.

Superbabies decided to use people who are physically incapable of good acting - babies - as their central engine and then dress them up with crappy (and often creepy) CGI or shitty voice acting to make the movie work.  The result is a trainwreck, as the Internet is well aware.

At best, you end up with unintentionally funny scenes where it's clear that the baby actor has no idea what s/he is doing and the voice acting is at odds with what's actually happening.  Like one scene where the main Baby Genius is trying to shove a rattle into another kid's mouth, and what you hear is, "Good luck on your next mission, Kahuna!  We're all rooting for you!"  But what the kid is saying with his body language is, "Hey. Hey. Hey, asshole!  Take the rattle, goddammit!"

At worst, the movie is creepy and obnoxious.  And sadly, it runs at its worst for most of the runtime.

But I don't think it's a movie without any merit.  The set design is kinda nifty and some of the actors are turning in halfway-decent performances.  I also think the central premise could actually work: it's about a kid who gets super powers when he's four years old, but his body never ages from that point on.  Stuck as a perpetual kid, he goes around the world saving orphans from various troubles (although he never seems to actually help them get adopted, so... thanks?).  There are moments when you realize there could actually have been a good movie here, maybe even something bittersweet.

The problem, of course, is the babies.  The solution?  Animate it.

If Superbabies was a cartoon, it would probably still be poorly-received, but it wouldn't be outright rejected as casually and universally as it is.  I think the inherent grossness of seeing babies being used as essentially glorified puppets makes people angry at the movie without even having seen it, and that in turn has led to a systematic downvoting effort on the Internet's part.

The truth is, it's not that bad.  It would probably end up in the bottom 100 movies I've ever seen only by virtue of the fact that I haven't seen every movie ever made, but it's definitely not bottom 10 material.  Probably not even bottom 25.  At the end of the day, it's just an average shitty kids' movie, and that's actually kind of disappointing.

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