Director: Kelly Asbury
Cast: Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe (VOICES)
Release Date: July 30, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 4/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Unconventionality rules in UglyDolls, a musical adventure featuring the singing and acting voices of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton and Pitbull. In Uglyville, weird is celebrated, strange is special and beauty is embraced as more than simply meets the eye. When Moxy and the UglyDolls discover Perfection, a town where dolls are seen through a strict model of attractiveness, they confront what it means to be different, struggle with their desire to be loved, and ultimately discover that you don’t have to be perfect to be amazing. Featuring original songs and an all-star cast including Wanda Sykes and Gabriel Iglesias, UglyDolls is “a movie you’ll want to watch again, and again!” (Naz Perez, Fandango)
‘UglyDolls’ tells the tale of a hopeful young doll living happily amongst her friends in Uglyville and all the while dreaming of a day when she might find the child she was meant to make happy. Unwilling to accept her fate as a simple fairy tale, her and a group of her closest friends make their way into the unknown in search of the truth, but what they find could be more disheartening than they imagined, unless of course they can find a way to change things for the better. Directed by Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2, Gnomeo & Juliet), ‘UglyDolls’ also features a notable voice cast that includes Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton, Wanda Sykes, Gabriel Iglesias, Bebe Rexha, Charli XCX, Lizzo, Wang Leehom, Emma Roberts and Pitbull, along with more.
‘UglyDolls’ offers a few laughs and catchy songs, along with a story that has its problems but hiccups along nonetheless, making for an animated feature that’s enjoyable at times and will probably prove to be entertaining for the kids at home, but also finds itself plagued by its share of troubles. Far too frequently borrowing heavily from other animated features as opposed to trying to find its own path and offer something unique or clever, even occasionally going so far as nearly duplicating scenes from other films (one scene for example is ridiculously close to being a carbon copy of a scene from ‘Toy Story 3’) and the film’s sloppy storyline and lack of flair and heart certainly detracts from the overall experience. As does the film going out of its way to make the movie as much a 90 minute commercial for the dolls themselves as it is an actual film, if not more so and the level of which it attempts to sell the product can become painful to endure. Fortunately the capable animation and a few songs that should be catchy enough to have the kids singing them after should make it worth the time for much younger audiences to enjoy, although you fellow adults may find sitting through it (not to mention actually enjoying it) significantly more difficult. It does have its share of amusing content and a few slightly redeeming moments and charms sprinkled throughout, but even so the film is unable to amass enough positive elements to save it from its issues.
Overall, ‘UglyDolls’ serves up some laughs and fun moments throughout which are complimented by solid animation, but as a whole is unable to overcome its troubles such as a lack of originality and a clever story. I wouldn’t suggest going out of your way to check this one out unless you have younger viewers at home who aren’t as likely to be bothered by its issues and will probably enjoy it for its capable animation, simplistic style and a few catchy songs. While many similar animated films these days find a way to bridge the interest gap between young and old audiences, this one doesn’t manage to pull it off nearly as well and suffers from its silly premise and the fact that it’s as much of a commercial as a film. Though that certainly doesn’t mean the young kids out there won’t have their share of fun with it even so.
The Blu-ray release of ‘UglyDolls’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks quite wonderful as a whole and provides a bright, vividly colored and richly detailed presentation from start to finish, and suffering no noticeable faults along the way. It holds up with ease even during the darkly lit and heavily populated moments, never allowing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that looks consistently great and should more than satisfy.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack offers a clean, crisp and at times fairly active audio presentation throughout. It frequently takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send the original music, along with action and nature elements, bits of dialogue and more throughout the various speakers whenever appropriate, and never causing any dialogue or other audio activity that may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a top notch 7.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds fantastic from start to finish and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘UglyDolls’ includes a few extras that the young fans may enjoy, including the option to watch the film’s original Theatrical presentation or in Sing-Along mode. The release also includes a few Behind the Scenes Featurettes and fun videos including ‘Making UglyDolls’ (running approximately 5 minutes in length), plus ‘Fun With The Cast of UglyDolls’ (running approximately 5 minutes), in addition to a ‘Sing-Along Tease’ (90 seconds) and ‘3 Trailers’ for the movie (approximately 7 minutes combined).