by Kellie Moore
Foodfight! is a film directed by Lawrence Kasanoff that was released in 2012. It is what is known as a “sleeper hit” because it wasn’t until recently this year that it started to become popular. The film’s concept was created by Kasanoff and his coworker Joshua Wexler in 1999 and was put into production around the early 2000s. The IMDb page states that the film actually had to be re-done after someone stole the hard drives containing the movie files from the studio in 2002. The film was originally set to be released in December of 2003 and later in fall of 2005 and then in spring of 2009. In September of 2011 the movie still hadn’t been released, so the bondholders of the movie force an auction to sell it and a starting bid of 2.5 million dollars was put in place. Finally in 2012 it was released into the US, to the UK in June of 2012, and later in October 2012 it was released in Europe. The movie grossed $73,706 in the US, £20,440 ($34,279.92) in the UK, and RUR 20,440 ($1353.71) in Russia.
The movie takes place in Marketropolis Market, where things look normal during the day but, at closing time, turns into a lively city which is home to the icons, or “ikes” of different grocery store brands. Dex Dogtective, a cereal icon who is the market’s best detective, voiced by Charlie Sheen, is planning to propose to his girlfriend, Sunshine Goodness, a half cat half girl icon of a raisin of the same name, voiced by Hilary Duff, and also asks his best friend, Daredevil Dan, a squirrel who is a chocolate icon, voiced by Wayne Brady, to be his best man. After Sunshine leaves before Dex can pop the big question, a brand of generic foodstuffs called Brand X is introduced to the market and Sunshine goes missing. Six months later, Dex gives up detective work and opens a club called the Copa Banana, which attracts the icon of Brand X, Lady X, voiced by Eva Longoria, and she starts trying to flirt it up with Dex. But as it turns out, the minions of Brand X are infecting the other ikes and causing them to spoil. This prompts Dex to return to sleuthing in order to save everyone in the market from imminent recall.
What makes this movie so notoriously bad is not only 2.4 out of 10 rating on IMDb, but also the lack of proper animation, the overuse of puns, and the unsettling character designs. The movie also feels like a giant advertisement, seeing as tons of copyrighted mascots star in the film, but don’t really do anything important. Even on the box cover Dex and Sunshine are taking the backseat as Mr. Twinkie, Charlie Tuna, the Vlasic Pickles bird, and Mrs. Butterworth take up one third of the scenery. However, the mascots whose companies didn’t allow them to be used have parodies that are either useless, ugly, or just plain rude.
However, you can’t bash a movie for trying. If you look past the animation, you can find a lot of things in the movie that are very well done. For one thing, the plot is great, and the main characters’ personalities are great as well. If the movie had just taken a different route such as a live action thriller or had the producers just tweaked the original, maybe the movie would be better, in a sense. Even though there was a major abuse of puns, many of them were actually funny and fit well into the movie. There was a bit of trouble with life lessons at the end but the main one, that the core fundamentals of keeping a community well balanced and safe is inside the hearts and minds of those within the community, makes an outstanding point to children.
Overall, yes, the film could use some work. With almost twelve years to work on this and with 65 million dollars in the budget they had a lot of room to improve. However, it shows us that animation and petty dad jokes don’t make a great movie, but what does is a well thought out plot, well thought out characters, and a lesson that can steer a child towards the better.