Review: Bigfoot Family
- Ben Stassen and Jérémie Degruson offer up a slice of slickly directed family entertainment set against a backdrop of urgent environmental issues, celebrity culture and high-octane chases
Bigfoot Family [+see also:
interview: Ben Stassen
film profile], the new 3D animated film from nWave studios (The Queen’s Corgi [+see also:
interview: Ben Stassen
film profile], The House of Magic [+see also:
film profile], Sammy’s Adventures: The Secret Passage [+see also:
film profile], Fly Me to the Moon [+see also:
film profile]), directed by Ben Stassen and Jérémie Degruson, is the next instalment in the adventures of young Adam that we first enjoyed in The Son of Bigfoot [+see also:
interview: Ben Stassen
film profile]. It is being presented in the Official Competition at this year’s Annecy Film Festival.
In the first movie, Adam, a not-so-ordinary teenager, discovered that his father, whom he thought was dead, was in fact none other than the legendary Bigfoot, living as a hermit in the heart of the mountains to escape an unscrupulous giant corporation eager to run scientific experiments with his DNA, obviously for commercial purposes. After countless adventures, the young boy, himself gifted with his father’s extraordinary powers, was reunited with his biological father and foiled the vile plans of the evil company, while simultaneously reuniting his sorely tested family.
But this family bliss looks set to be short-lived. Since he returned to the city, Bigfoot has become a media star, much to the chagrin of Adam, who dreams of having an ordinary adolescence.
Bigfoot puts his new-found fame to use by trying to save the environment and flies off to Alaska to thwart the misdeeds of an oil company. Several days later, the whole world is reeling: the hirsute adventurer has disappeared! Adam, accompanied by his mother Shelly, Trapper the intrepid raccoon and Wilbur the clumsy bear, heads to the Far North to rescue his super-dad.
For almost ten years, the nWave studios, founded by Ben Stassen, have been producing mainstream animated movies in 3D that have travelled the world. As the team has continued making films, it has been able to develop and fine-tune its target market and its audience. Just like the first Bigfoot opus or the recent Corgi flick, Bigfoot Family effectively sets its sights on both very young children, particularly through the amusing animal characters with verbal diarrhoea, and parents, a reluctant audience for this type of movie, who will be satisfied with the serious environmental discussion at the heart of the story and will be sure to crack a smile when they see the scathing portrait of the big CEO who extols the virtues of “green” petrol with spectacular hypocrisy.
And just so that no one is left behind, the film also depicts a teenager who takes care of communication on social networks for his father, and suspiciously eyes the current invasive celebrity culture where unknowns are unceremoniously catapulted into the spotlight, immediately transformed into celebrity activists. With great fame comes great responsibility, as another superhero might have put it. Add to that a perfect pop soundtrack (once again courtesy of Belgian group Puggy) and references to globalised pop culture (US-style morning shows, the Steve Jobs of the energy industry, hippie environmental activists), and you get a film that should be capable of reaching its different target markets.
Especially seeing as the technical prowess that has become the hallmark of the nWave studios, which have been at the cutting edge of 3D for more than a decade, is once again top-notch, with several very well-executed action scenes that take place in some majestic settings, such as a ghost town, an industrial graveyard, disused mines and the fast-flowing river that cuts through the magnificent Rocky Valley, in the heart of Alaska. It’s a movie that’s perfectly in tune with the zeitgeist, as the land and our duty to protect it are at the very core of this new mission for Bigfoot, both senior and junior.
Bigfoot Family was produced by nWave and Octopolis, and is being sold internationally by Charades. The film will come out in France (courtesy of Apollo Films) and in Belgium (thanks to Belga Films) on 5 August.
(Translated from French)
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