Director(s): Kyung Ho Lee, Wonjae Lee
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Jennette McCurdy, James Woods (VOICES)
Release Date: In Select Theaters May 6, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6/10
BLING follows the tale of lowly theme park mechanic Sam whose plan to marry the girl of his dreams is thwarted by a super villain. It is up to him and his team of superhero robots to save the city. Can this accident-prone amusement park mechanic get back his ring, stop the villain, and win the girl before it’s too late?
‘Bling’ is an animated romantic adventure which takes place in the somewhat distant future and centers on the bumbling, but good hearted Sam who after spending twenty years with Sue, the woman he loves more than anything, is finally prepared to pop the question. Unfortunately nothing short of a monumental event will truly suffice, therefore Sam enlists the assistance of his robotic friends and others from the amusement park Roboland where he works and as Valentine’s Day arrives he makes one extravagant attempt after another as each subsequent plan goes awry in some way. Already extremely nervous and with more than enough to concern him, a miscommunication with a super villain named Oscar and his Robot companion Victor leads to Sam and his robot pals accidently instigating a war with the villain and his endless supply of robot warriors. As things only continue to become drastically worse, Sam will have to try and attempt to save his entire city before it’s destroyed and somehow still find the perfect opportunity to propose to Sue before she accepts a new job offer in London and leaves for good.
Initially created in South Korea, ‘Bling’ is directed by Kyung Ho Lee, Wonjae Lee from a script each also worked on, likely prior to numerous rewrites and adjustments (a total of six various writers appear to be credited), yet as a whole the two do a fairly competent job directing and create a unique future and aspects within it, not to mention delivering some truly impressive futuristic action-packed battle sequences. Although one can only assume the final film we are seeing has lost at least a modicum of the filmmakers’ original vision, their capability at the helm is definitely noticeable.
One aspect of ‘Bling’ that certainly doesn’t do the film the slightest bit of harm is the collection of (at least relatively) well known individuals comprising the cast including the voice talents of Taylor Kitsch (John Carter, Battleship), Jennette McCurdy (TV’s iCarly), James Woods (Casino, Nixon), Carla Gugino (Watchmen, Spy Kids), Tom Green (Road Trip, TV’s The Tom Green Show), Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite, Blades of Glory), Jason Mewes (Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), Jason Kravits (TV’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt & The Michael J. Fox Show), Jim Breuer (Titan A.E., Half Baked) and a number more, nearly all of which are pretty logical selections for their parts and the majority provide more than capable performances in each of their respective (voice) roles, even if a number of the performances don’t appear to require anything more than the actors’ most recognizable traits.
‘Bling’ isn’t by any means a perfect film or anywhere near, yet it does get some elements right and certainly offers some unique concepts and a generally enthralling world and era in which robots are as common as humans and the most notable theme park in business focuses on robots as well. One aspect ‘Bling’ succeeds admirably with is in delivering some impressive action-packed sequences including some battles that come surprisingly close to full on robotic warfare as the villain and his robotic right hand continue to amass and employ hordes of robot minions for our heroes to battle their way through. This animated movie also focuses a great deal on the romance between characters, even the entirety of the film revolving around big romantic plans set to occur on Valentine’s Day, and while some of the much younger viewers may not be overly entertained by a romantic film in general, the balance contributed by the action and adventure should help to appease.
Perhaps the most negative aspect of ‘Bling’ is its continuous and often painful failed attempts at humor, an area the majority of animated family films tends to thrive, wherein despite an obvious intention at bringing that clever humor to life here, it merely succeeds in garnering a few laughs and giggles throughout, most of the intentionally funny moments falling flat and only detracting from the action and other elements currently taking place. The animation looks pretty decent for the most part, but it does lack in detail and when compared to the breathtaking quality so frequent in the genre today, ‘Bling’ often feels somewhat bland and lacking.
Overall, ‘Bling’ is a relatively fun animated adventure that the whole family will likely enjoy, at least to a degree. It delivers some truly impressive futuristic action and dares to focus the largest aspects of the storyline around romance while managing to find a suitable balance of action and adventure in order to keep all ages entertained and refrain from things ever becoming too dull. Unfortunately it also falls short in a number of ways such as the repeatedly failed attempts at humor. ‘Bling’ may be a long way off from the animated masterpieces we are so frequently treated to these days from some of the larger studios, but it’s still an enjoyable and heartwarming romantic adventure that while it might not be worth going out of your way to see immediately, is still worth a watch if you have the opportunity to do so, and it could also serve as a great choice for a family movie night.
Film Rating: 6/10