Director: Alex Zamm
Cast: Timothy Omundson, Thaila Ayala, Graham Verchere
Release Date: February 6, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 3/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Woody Woodpecker is back with his signature laugh, wacky antics and wisecracks in his first ever live-action/animated film. Woody must protect his forest home from Lance Walters (Timothy Omundson), who starts building his dream mansion in the forest with his son, Tommy, and fiancée, Vanessa (Thaila Ayala). To make matters worse, Woody must avoid the clutches of two grizzly poachers. With a series of crazy hijinks to sabotage their plans, Woody proves he’ll stop at nothing to defend his turf. Get ready for big laughs in this hilarious comedy about everyone’s favorite woodpecker!
‘Woody Woodpecker’ returns for all new generation in a brand new family film that blends live action and animation. When his forest home is invaded by a divorced dad accompanied by his fiancé and his son who journey into the woods in order to begin construction on a mansion-sized home requiring the demolition of a good chunk of his beloved forest, Woody’s natural reaction is to fight back, pestering, spooking and causing mayhem among the family and the various construction workers hired to do the hard labor. But when the boy forms a special bond with the goofy Woodpecker, he must convince his dad to find a middle ground with the rare bird before complete chaos erupts as a result of the continuing clash.
Attempting to reinvigorate the franchise and the iconic cartoon character by merging live-action and animation, the new ‘Woody Woodpecker’ film has some enjoyable moments and the expected heartwarming learning experiences, but altogether it’s a pretty terrible film plagued by some mediocre animation and a collection of live-action performances that are often almost painful to endure. Although plagued with a great many problems, it still has its charms and doesn’t make for an entirely unenjoyable experience if you’re able to accept its goofy and questionable approach and just let yourself be dragged along for the ride. Likely the most positive aspect is that the filmmakers do a decent job capturing some of Woody’s older traits, particularly his borderline insane goofiness and of course his trademark laugh which shouldn’t go unnoticed by fellow longtime fans of the character. Unfortunately other included attempts to poke fun at some of these elements and usually with disappointing fart jokes that are anything but amusing do detract from the few positive factors. Yet even so, many folks such as me who have been fans of the character for many years will probably find themselves unable to avoid giving it a shot and while they probably won’t be blown away by this rather unimpressive film, it should still offer up its share of fun and heartwarming moments. The film is clearly aimed primarily at younger viewers and many kids will surely have a great deal of fun with this one, its generally lighthearted humor and inoffensive content are sure to make it something parents shouldn’t have much issue with their kids revisiting time and again either, at least as long as they don’t have to sit through the entire thing too many times themselves.
Overall, ‘Woody Woodpecker’ serves up some amusing moments, a few trademark traits fans of the iconic character should appreciate and plenty of typical heartwarming family experiences along the way. Sadly, the sloppy and unoriginal plot, bad acting and at times cringe worthy animation make the film a disappointment for the most part. It’s hard to wholeheartedly recommend ‘Woody Woodpecker’ as a result of its numerous issues and lack of creativity, but fellow longtime fans of the beloved character will likely want to try and check it out at some point when convenient. It’s probably unnecessary to go out of your way to get your hands on a copy immediately but couldn’t hurt to consider should you happen to come across it on your favorite streaming provider or premium channel down the road. Households with kids that might be interested in the movie on the other hand may want to consider at least renting a copy as the younger viewers are liable to have a great deal more fun with this one and not be nearly as troubled by its plethora of issues.
The DVD release of ‘Woody Woodpecker’ is presented in a 16×9 friendly Widescreen presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty wonderful as far as the capabilities of DVD will allow and delivers a fairly sharp, detailed and smooth presentation from start to finish without any real issues to be uncovered throughout. It holds up surprisingly well even during the darker and fast moving sequences, never causing any onscreen activity to become choppy or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a solid standard definition video presentation that (at least as far as DVD’s go) looks consistently great.
The DVD release features a 448 kbps 5.1 channel Dolby Digital soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack provides a more than capable audio presentation. It often takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send Woody zipping throughout the various speakers, along with nature elements, crashing, some crowd chatter and more, and always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a more than capable Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that consistently holds up without issue and shouldn’t disappoint.
The DVD release of ‘Woody Woodpecker’ includes a few brief extras in the way of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus some behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Guess Who? The Evolution of Woody’ (running approximately 6 minutes in length), ‘The Making of Woody Woodpecker’ (running approximately 3 minutes) and ‘Working with Woody’ (approximately 3 minutes).