Belgian 3D animation studio nWave Pictures takes on the family-friendly film industry giants Disney Pixar and Dreamworks with their 2017 offering 'The Son of Bigfoot' (AKA, 'Bigfoot Junior'). Targeting young families with a simple story and easy and loud visuals, this pre-teen adventure is a mildly entertaining journey for parents and a exciting ride for the youngins. With some mild language and bullying scenes, very young audiences might find it a bit much, but for them in the 10+ crowd, 'The Son of Bigfoot' offers some great entertainment value with a decent runtime of 1h 32m.
The film follows the journey of a young boy named Adam Harrison (Pappy Faulkner) who lost his father when he was a baby, is relentlessly bullied at his school by a local gang, and is going through strange bodily changes such as rapid feet growth and hair rejuvenation. One day, Adam discovers his father is alive after uncovering a tin full of letters his mother was hiding from him. Subsequently, Adam runs away from home in search of his father, discovering he is in fact the son of Bigfoot. However, in doing so exposes the whereabouts of his father to an evil company called Hairco. who are hellbent on using his special Bigfoot DNA to manufacture wigs. Unaware that Hairco. is 'hot on his tail', Adam's father Dr. Harrison helps his son control his emerging Bigfoot powers - such as talking to animals, running's fast and using his senses to track his enemies. At this stage, Hairco. raid on the forest where Adam and his father are reaches its peak, resulting in both their capture. What follows is a game of wits between the family and this evil organisation Hairco. and this CEO.
While remnant of a B-Grade animated film, 'The Son of Bigfoot' is a fun family ride through a simple journey which predicable, cliché troupes. While some of the relationships and characters are unrealistic, such as the single mum and son dialogue and the truck driver's pride toward his dashcam footage and willingness to go off route, the extreme approach is fitting given the absurd setting. With talking animals and superpowered Bigfoots, anything is a go, so a witty absurd joke about a starkly kid, immature adult or ego driven security guard gives the parents something to giggle at. Yes, it's silly humour and unlike classics like 'Shrek' this film is not catered to adults but rather scattered with giggle moments which will pull their attention. It is a film and story for 10+ year olds, and for the most part stays on focus with all of it's creative choices.
The animation jumps from impressive to questionable continuedly, but unlike other films, it is easily forgivable given the nature of the production. Most films cost way more to produce then the relatively small budget of $20M USD given here, but with it are some evident visual and creative shortcuts. Inconsistent 'alien' like moments/animations and non-detailed sets are randomly scattered within the film, with subplot moments feeling unpolished. With this in mind, for the most part, the use of camera is brilliant and feeling of remoteness and homely brilliantly presented. The continued use of a gliding camera through the woods creates a fun environment for the children to enjoy, and adds a sense of adventure every time. The use of non-mainstream music is also was great and uncompromising, and while the Belgian band Puggy produced every track, the style is diverse enough to fit the vibe of the film perfectly.
'The Son of Bigfoot' is of a lower production quality standard compared to films from studios like Disney Pixar, however it definitely gives these more mainstream studios a run for their market domination. The result is a fun and enjoyable ride for pre-teens, embedded with a nice scattering of adult humour and witty dumb jokes, enough to keep the whole family engaged for the whole journey. With an easy to follow story, colourful visuals and enjoyable lively characters, this ride is fun but not iconic. You find the journey enjoyable but not on the list of greatest of all time and (to re-reference Shrek), 'it ain't no Shrek'.