Donkey X

| August 11, 2009

“Donkey X” can be summed up here just as it was in the pitch meeting, “It’s ‘Shrek’ meets ‘Tale of Despereaux’.” For the budget I’m sure they asked for, taking a super successful franchise and saying you’ll mix it with one of last year’s terrible, but still nominated CG films is a green light for anyone. The US title, “Donkey X” makes absolutely no sense compared to it’s international title, “Donkey Xote”, which I feel is way more clever! The film itself is loaded with a cast of no-name voice actors, not that they aren’t good, but in this day and age the top studios, Dreamworks, Sony, Pixar, love to jam as many big name stars into each feature because they believe it helps draw a more adult audience as well as children.
Before I go off on even more tangents, allow me to explain what the film is about. Actually, I have no clue what it’s about. The plot is all over the place and hard to follow, but if you force-fed your child “Baby Einstein” then this is a good movie to follow it up with. It seemed to me like it is the story of Don Quixote told through the eyes of Sancho Panza’s donkey, Rucio. Rucio looks an awful lot like Donkey from the “Shrek” franchise, only he lacks character. Rucio is pretty dull, in fact, I can compare him to “Rudy”. A good film, a true story even, but Rudy Ruettiger was a pretty dull character, determined though he may be. But the main thing here is the movie seems so slow you might as well read the book. (The jokes on you! Page count!)
The dialog was awful. I understand taking something like Don Quixote and dumbing it down so that children can understand it, but some of the dialog was like listening to a child speak. I have no problem with trying to relate to an audience, but there were just a few times where it felt embarrassing. Speaking of embarrassing, the further along the movie got the more sexualized some of the characters became. There was an awful lot of boob wiggling, grabbing, and overall inappropriate innuendo for a kid’s movie.
The overall character design was good. I’ve been watching Pixar do it since day one and everyone else who tries to make CG people has failed miserably in my eyes. They all look boxy and semi-retarded; I especially hate the “Jimmy Neutron” characters. The people in “Donkey X” were stylized, but still simple. It really worked. The animals were great; there was this evil ferret that would look great in my window around Halloween. The bad guys were actually scary-looking! I love it! (All of it except ninja chicken. This guy was really out of place.)
All in all, not a horrible film. For the budget I’m sure they had it doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out with my own fingers. It may end up feeling hyper sexualized and dull at the same time, but at least it looks good while doing it. Too bad it makes the illusion that it’s a story about a donkey and it ends up being more about Don Quixote than anything. Either way, it’s out now on DVD and Blu-ray.

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