Puppets to the rescue (UglyDolls in the American original) is a 2019 animated film produced by STX Entertainment and Alibaba Pictures was directed by Robert Rodriguez and Kelly Asbury. The film aimed at families and all age groups will be screened in cinemas starting from 14 November 2019.
Moxy and his puppet friends are ready for a great adventure. In an imaginative world full of colors, a weird group of soft, fluffy and plush puppets, will have to face the most important test of their life with courage and determination: find a child to give their love to. To do so, they will have to challenge the undisputed leader of the Academy of Perfection, the puppet Lou. Will our heroic puppets succeed in their enterprise?
Based on the dolls created by David Horvath and Sun-min Kim in 2001, the rights to the animated film were first chosen in 2011 by Illumination (the same as
despicable Me) before coming to STX in 2015 as the first project, as regards the genre of family films. Robert Rodriguez signed in 2017 the contract to direct the film, with his production of Troublemaker Studios. After stepping down as director in 2018, he was replaced by veteran animation director Kelly Asbury, whose directorial credits include
Spirit: wild horse,
Shrek 2, Gnomeo and Juliet e The Smurfs - Journey to the secret forest.
Accepting the pre-production project was not an easy decision for Asbury, given the very tight deadline it takes to get the film into theaters on May 3. In his favor, Asbury says the film got off to a great start, including a strong song for star Kelly Clarkson to kick things off and, perhaps more importantly, a good ending. Kelly Asbury comments: "I said OK, this is a challenge, but there is nothing better than having a good finish"
Asbury used the tight deadlines to the film's advantage. "He forced decisions", He says. "I believe in deadlines and I believe deadlines create a limit, you can make it work for you. I think we made sure that our deadline worked for us in this case. "
Asbury's biggest decision was to turn the film into an all-out musical, a move that allows the film to offer perks and points of view to the characters through songs, written by Christopher Lennertz and Glenn Slater. "The audience will hear the message more when it's in a song", he claims.
He also spearheaded the casting of the film for the in-flux characters - some were combined, others dropped entirely from the original concept - towards pop music. "We wanted to find artists who weren't just singers but people who had iconic characters that could be applied to the characters themselves in the film"Asbury says.
Kelly Clarkson was cast in the role of Moxy
before Asbury's arrival, and his personality and humor embodied the character's optimism and curiosity. The cast was filled with talent including Janelle Monae as Mandy, Blake Shelton like Ox, Pitbull like ugly dog, Gabriel Iglesias as Babo
and Charli XCX as Kitty.
Nick Jonas was cast in the role of Lou, the villain of the movie. "Nick Jonas really brought a lot of acting crumbs to the performance, but we also used the fact that he is a talented songwriter"Asbury says.
Asbury's belief in simplicity shaped the easy-to-understand film plot and brilliant graphics. The film begins with the UglyDoll Puppets happily living in Uglyville, unaware that they are dolls rejected as faulty during manufacture. Moxy loves her life, but dreams of the outside world and wishes to be loved by a real-life child. He sets out in search of the real world and finds perfection instead, a city populated by pre-dressed dolls who also aspire to be loved by real children, but is told by their hero and coach Lou that they will only achieve this if they are absolutely perfect. . The UglyDolls are greeted with derision and canceled, but still have a chance to prove they are worthy of a child's love, creating a confrontation between the bully and the puppets.
Passionate about classic Hollywood musicals like An American in Paris and Singing in the Rain, Asbury tried to make sure the songs stood out. "When we get into a song, I want it to be a separate short film to convey its message", He says. "Every song in this film was treated as a narrative key moment."
Animation supervisor Sebastien Bruneau says completing the film on time was a huge challenge. "We had to run a marathon to make sure we delivered the film", he claims.
Reel FX animated the film from its facilities in Montreal and Dallas. Additional help came from China and a handful of freelancers. Reel FX's main crew consisted of 50 to 60 animators. After about two months of testing, the animation was completed in about six to seven months.
UglyDolls are simply designed and have simple shapes, but there were usually multiple characters on the screen at any given time, says Bruneau. Asbury urged simplicity and experimentation to find ways to make stocky characters move.
“We had to come up with a very graphic, very cute and eye-catching style for the UglyDolls,” says Bruneau. "It is important that children relate to them."
Pictures of the movie Puppets to the rescue