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Woody Woodpecker

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Woody Woodpecker
Woody-woodpecker-2017-us-poster.jpg
A live-action trainwreck of Walter Lantz's most iconic cartoon creation.
Genre: Comedy
Animation
Family
Directed By: Alex Zamm
Written By: William Robertson
Alex Zamm
Based On: Woody Woodpecker
Starring: Eric Bauza
Timothy Omundson
Jakob Davies
Thaila Ayala
Graham Verchere
Jordana Largy
Emily Holmes
Photography: Color
Distributed By: Universal 1440 Entertainment
Release Date: October 5, 2017 (Brazil)
February 6, 2018 (International)
Runtime: 85 minutes (but followed by a bonus cartoon that is 6 minutes long = 91 total minutes)
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $10 million
Box Office: $15.3 million
Franchise: Woody Woodpecker


Woody Woodpecker (also known as Pica-Pau in Brazil) is a live-action/CGI animated film produced by Universal Animation Studios which premiered on October 5, 2017 in Brazilian cinemas. The film was directed by Alex Zamm, written by Dave Krinsky and John Altschuler. It was theatrically released in Brazil on October 5, 2017 and was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the USA and other countries on February 6, 2018 by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. It spawned an animated web television series of the same name in 2018.

Plot

The playful and mischievous Woody is caught up in yet another of his amusing fights by territory, and this time the enemies are the con artist Lance Walters (Timothy Omundson) and his girlfriend Vanessa (Thaila Ayala). They are determined to build their big dream home but, for that, they need to bring down Woody's house, which promises not to be cheap.

Why It's "A-A-A-Awful"

  1. Woody is severely flanderized from a mischievous, zany, crazy woodpecker into an annoying sadistic creature who annoys and tortures the family.
    • Even worse, his voice sounds like it was sped up too much, though strangely also slowed down at the same time, as well as being exported poorly.
    • Woody may have been a mischievous screwball prankster in the original cartoons (especially in the earlier 1940s cartoons), but he would only retaliate against his foes that would deserve their comeuppance. To this extent of being malicious and sadistic by tormenting an innocent family for even being perceived as camping at first does make this out of character for him.
  2. Horrendous and out-of-place animation that looks unbelievable for a Universal movie, even by 2017 standards.
    • To begin with, Woody has speech out-of-sync, which is unbelievable and unacceptable for a major big-budget Hollywood feature film production.
    • When he flies, he seems to stretch strangely, and feathers often enter inside the character's head. Not to mention the animation that has been reused countless times.
    • In a scene from the movie, when Woody is poking Lance Walters in his bed at night, it looks like a Photoshop clipping too light for the scene, giving a very amateur touch to the animation.
    • In addition, not only does Woody fly, but floats in the air without flapping his wings.
    • On that topic, since none of the Woody Woodpecker cartoons' supporting cast whom are anthropomorphic animals like Wally Walrus, Buzz Buzzard, Chilly Willy or Andy Panda ever appear in this film (see WIA #9), Woody is the only character in the entire film whom is computer-animated, hence making his appearance in an entire live-action-based environment look incredibly out-of-place in this film, not helping is the poor quality CGI animation used on the character as mentioned above.
  3. Bad eye contact between Woody and the live-action characters: The actors do not even look at Woody, making ridiculous improvisations, such as looking at the horizon or the mountains on the stage.
  4. A bland and cliché storyline that has been used in better films.
  5. It is completely forgettable due to its predictable, stupid, cheap and rather cliché story. Even the characters try to be "modernly", using electronic gadgets, outdated slang and bad marks, as well as references to pop culture.
  6. The human characters in this film are mostly either bland, forgettable, unlikable, or a mixture of both, such as Lance Walters and his girlfriend Vanessa.
  7. Poor and often laughable dialogue, such as when Lance Walter's son Tommy Walters remarks to his father on his unwillingness to spend quality time with him "I know you don't want me here. The only kid you want in your life is your girlfriend", riskfully implicating references to pedophilia (even though Lance's girlfriend Vanessa is clearly a grown adult of consenting age like Lance himself), as well as Woody calling Tommy as his "BFF" which he refers to as his "Bringer Of Free Food".
  8. The movie has a horrid message about family and the environment. In one scene, Lance is bribing Woody for a plate of peanut butter biscuit, doing the same to let the building finish and knock down the forest, which is revolting and senseless, and automatically cancels the lesson about tree felling. Even Woody says he "left them alone because they paid him," which can be a really bad influence for children.
  9. There is no good comedy or humor in this film, which is unacceptable because Woody Woodpecker is meant to be a comedic franchise.
    • Speaking of humor, it also consists of pointless fart jokes and forgettable toilet humor, which was never found in the original source material. Woody makes fart out his signature laugh, poops on a guy's chocolate ice cream and the guy eats it (which, when he does, Woody is disgusted), and poops on Lance's girlfriend. How's any of that funny?
    • Woody strips two underage boys to their underwear and threatens to go further. This is supposed to be meant as comedy but ends up being super pedophilic, zoophilic (considering he's a woodpecker) and highly inappropriate.
    • Unlike the original cartoons as well as the 1999 and 2018 revivals, the film tends to often rely a lot on gratuitous over-the-top violence which is incredibly lifelike, brutal and hurtful rather than slapstick which is lighthearted, cartoonish and funny, most notably the scene where Woody gets both Lance and Vanessa covered in wet cement and getting their caravan house burned down, the latter being the reason why Vanessa decided to break up with Lance, not helping is the fact that the violence is often targeted towards the live-action human characters in a live-action environment.
  10. Horrible grasp of the original source material.
    • Aside from Woody Woodpecker himself, none of the Woody Woodpecker cartoons' supporting cast such as Wally Walrus, Buzz Buzzard, Miss Meany, Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, etc. appear in this film. Because of this, you could replace Woody with some other random character and it wouldn't make a single difference.
    • Despite being called Woody Woodpecker, the first half of the movie focuses a lot on Lance and his son.
    • The human characters seem to never hear or understand Woody, even though he is an anthropomorphic character like Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, and therefore he should have the ability to talk to humans, which he did in his cartoons, where he perfectly communicates with Miss Meany.
      • In fact, due to this and the absence of other Woody Woodpecker characters, the movie treats Woody as an average woodpecker with the looks and voice of the iconic character.
  11. Terrible acting, with the exception of Eric Bauza, Graham Verchere, Jordana Largy, Chelsea Miller and Jakob Davies.
  12. Loads of filler, especially in the scenes focusing on the human characters.
  13. The music is insufferable, especially the pop rendition of Woody's signature song "Everybody Thinks I'm Crazy" as originally heard in the Woody Woodpecker cartoon short "Woody Woodpecker" (1941) by Eric Bauza.
  14. False advertising: The film's promotional trailers, as well as the promotional poster (like as pictured on the page), make the film seem as if that Woody is the main protagonist of the film, especially the film's promotional poster having Woody take up about 80% of the image while the live-action human characters appear much smaller, when the film itself actually focuses more on the human characters than Woody himself, especially in the first half of the film.
  15. Despite the film being mainly targeted at Brazilian audiences (hence why the film received a theatrical release only in Brazil and nowhere else) such as the inclusion of Brazilian actress Thaila Ayala as Lance's girlfriend Vanessa, even Brazilian audiences did not like this film. You know you've messed up badly when even the audience of your target country hates your film.
    • Consequently, this film even succeeded in ruining Woody Woodpecker's reputation as a whole and therefore defaming Woody Woodpecker's popularity in Brazil, bringing Woody's popularity in Brazil down to zero.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. At the end of the credits, we actually get to see the cartoon that inspired this film.
  2. The cover of Surfin' Bird and Troublemaker is decent. The cover of What I Like About You is quite catchy
  3. Despite the atrocious CGI, Woody's design remains faithful to how it looked in the original cartoons.
  4. Eric Bauza does a surprisingly good job at voicing Woody despite the pitch-shifting. Graham Verchere, Jordana Largy, Chelsea Miller and Jakob Davies actually do very solid performances as Tommy Walters, Samantha Barlett, Jill Ferguson and Lyle, respectively.
  5. The scene Woody makes a wooden picture family of him, Lance and Tommy is actually heartwarming.
  6. Director Alex Zamm eventually learned from his mistakes and therefore recast Woody as a more likable protagonist in the 2018 web series.

Reception

The movie was panned by critics, fans and audiences alike, and is considered as one of the worst movie adaptations ever made. However, when it was released in the Brazilian theaters, it was so poorly received critically and commercially there that it, again, eventually brought Woody's popularity in Brazil down to zero. The movie currently holds a 4.1/10 on IMDb, a 1/5 on Common Sense Media, and a 13% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Videos

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