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"Bands on the Run": Run Away! Run Away!

by on May 31, 2011

Oh man, this is a bad movie.

I wanted to like Bands on the Run. I really did. I didn’t hold out a lot of hope, but I thought it might at least fall into the “so bad it’s good” category, like the enjoyable, brilliant Happily N’ever After 2. But alas, no. Bands on the Run is complete and utter crap. Filled with terrible animation, terrible writing, terrible voices, and terrible execution, it even gives Video Brinquedo’s Ratatoing a run for its money as the worst animated film of all time.

The story follows five designer rubber bands—Roxie, a rock-star-shaped rubber band; Daisy, a flower-shaped rubber band; Edison, a light-bulb-shaped rubber band; Ray, a TV-shaped rubber band; and Amelia, an airplane-shaped rubber band—who fall off a truck and need to make their way to the toy store so they can be bought and played with by children.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. It does share some similarities to the Toy Story franchise, especially since most of the characters seem to be in a deluded Buzz state, honestly thinking that they’re really airplanes or flowers or whatever. But all of the characters here are two-dimensional, and in more ways than one. They all speak in bad puns or clichés, and none of them having any sort of personality whatsoever.

Anyhow, along the way they meet another rubber band named Stretch, and have some crazy adventures like being attacked by a bunny, swimming across a pool, getting lost in a gas station, getting thrown in a garbage truck and needing to escape from a recycling center. Oh, and everything I just told you? The narrator tells you all this and more in the opening. The first two minutes of the movie is just him describing the movie in intricate detail, ensuring there are no surprises when you actually watch it, while the camera pans over crayon storyboards that actually look better than the movie itself. And that brings us to the visuals.

There needs to be a new word to describe how bad they are. I’ve made better-looking CG cartoons, and made them when I was just 16! Characters constantly move through each other and themselves. Movement is less than cheap: Often, characters look like they’re being dragged along the screen, and at some points in the movie they just randomly disappear. Old, dubbed Godzilla imports feature better lip synching.

Apparently even the distribution company is embarrassed by how hideous it looks, because they’ve decorated the back of the DVD case with recreated movie scenes made to look like hand-drawn images. (They also bill this 43-minute film as “approximately 50 minutes” long.) Special features include ‘Animated Storyboards’, which is pretty much just a boring leica reel that looks like it was drawn by my five-year-old sister. The other special feature on is ‘How to Make an Animated Feature’ which, running at a whole two minutes long, explains how you can create your own animated feature in 10 simple steps. It seems to be hosted by the only guy to work on this film, and at least it sheds some light on why the animation is so terrible: “You set a keyframe from point A to point B,” he explains, “and the computer fills in the gaps.” While that is how one can go about making animation, that isn’t how one goes about making good animation.

It also comes with 10 rubber bands representing a $4.99 value, though why someone would pay five dollars for ten rubber bands is beyond me.

There’s really not much else to say, except that Bands on the Run is an insulting piece of crap that you should avoid at all costs.

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