Bigfoot Family review – stellar animation gets lost in the wilderness

February 26, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 1
Film Reviews, Netflix
3

Summary

It looks great and can’t help but be likable – still, though, Bigfoot Family tries to cast its net too wide and ends up getting mired in an action-heavy but empty back half.

3

Summary

It looks great and can’t help but be likable – still, though, Bigfoot Family tries to cast its net too wide and ends up getting mired in an action-heavy but empty back half.

To its credit, Bigfoot Family accomplishes something many films in its genre don’t by appealing to both the kids and the long-suffering adults who have been dragged into the movie with them. Jeremy Degruson and Ben Stassen’s sequel to Son of Bigfoot is streaming on Netflix, so it would have been a bit easier for distracted grown-ups to swerve it if necessary, but the Belgian-French animation, which has been three years in the making for reasons that’ll become obvious when you see the quality of the animation, gives just enough reason in its environmentalist themes and adult-skewing references for the parents to stick around. They’ll likely have a good time with what is for the most part a charming film that unfortunately gets lost in the wilderness of an action-heavy back half designed to show off the visual effects rather than pay off the many ideas it was toying with earlier.

You’ll recall that in the first movie, Adam (Kylian Trouillard) discovered that his father was not dead but actually a hermit hiding in the forest from an unscrupulous corporation after one of his failed experiments turned him into the mythical Bigfoot. Things don’t seem much better for Adam in the sequel, since Bigfoot (Alexis Victor) has returned to the public eye and has become an overnight celebrity, thoroughly complicating Adam’s already trying adolescence. When Bigfoot tries to use his social media pull to save Alaska’s Rocky Valley from an oil company called Xtract, he ends up kidnapped and off the grid, so it’s up to Adam, his mother Shelly (Marie Chevalot), a talking bear named Wilbur (Frederic Souterelle) and a similarly chatty raccoon called Trapper (Sébastien Desjours) to save Bigfoot, the day, the valley, and the local wildlife.

The talking animals are clearly for the entertainment of younger kids; the messaging about environmentalism and the rigors of celebrity – not to mention the skewering of big energy companies – are to keep the adults in check. Those in the middle are served by Adam’s arc from shy, pouting kid to heroic day-saver, helped along by inherited superpowers, the power of friendship, and the attention of Emma (Clara Quilichini), the local girl he’s desperately crushing on. It’s a lot of plates to spin, and Bigfoot Family doesn’t manage to keep them all in the air during a second half that descends into one protracted – though very nice-looking – chase sequence after another. Bad guys, including Xtract’s CEO, Connor Mandrake (Pierre Tessier), and his mercenary-for-hire right-hand man (Xavier Fagnon), are broad, mustache-twirling stereotypes, and their scheme is a cartoonishly dastardly plot to extract oil from the entire valley. All of this is expected on some level, but the simplicity of it all dulls the potential commentary on invasive social media culture and half-hearted celebrity activism. The best family films can still dig into their themes without sacrificing the facile surface-level fun stuff, but this one can’t quite manage that feat.

The facile stuff is good, though. Visuals, as mentioned, are consistently excellent, and the pop soundtrack from Belgian band Puggy is pitch-perfect most of the time. There are funny lines aplenty and you can’t help but smile at the warmth of the ending. It might not stand out as a lasting, all-time-great animation, but Bigfoot Family is a charming excursion, nevertheless.

1 thought on “Bigfoot Family review – stellar animation gets lost in the wilderness

  • March 3, 2021 at 4:12 pm
    Permalink

    The movie (bigfoot family) made a mess up, so the mom of little foot can not speak to animals right? But on the road trip with the bear and raccoon she can hear the raccoon and says his name in madness. That’s all

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