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Blu-ray Review: UGLYDOLLS

Jul 29 Posted by in DVD/Blu-ray, Reviews | Comments

The film UglyDolls brings the immensely popular stuffed toy franchise of the same name to life in a fun, musical adventure for kids and families. The film teaches that everyone is beautiful in their own way, and just being happy with who you are is the most beautiful thing of all. The story centers around Moxy (Kelly Clarkson), a pink doll who has lived in Uglyville all her life—ever since the manufacturing line determined she was a reject and rerouted her there. Each day, the ever-positive Moxy wakes up in her bed thinking today will be the day—the day that she will finally make it to the Big World, where she will be paired with a child who will love her forever. However, with each passing day, Moxy struggles to maintain her positive attitude. While she is generally happy in Uglyville, Moxy believes she’s meant to do more. She decides that instead of waiting around for her child to find her, it’s time for her to leave Uglyville and find her child herself.



Joining Moxy on her adventure are friends Lucky Bat (Wang Leehom), Ugly Dog (Pitbull), Babo (Gabriel Iglesias) and Wage (Wanda Sykes), who make their way back through the dark pipeline that originally dropped them off in Uglyville, and ultimately end up at the Institute of Perfection. This is the quality control center where the “perfect” dolls train to meet their child. After they pass the final test, The Gauntlet, they are allowed through the portal to the Big World. The leader of the institute is the blonde-haired look of perfection known as Lou (Nick Jonas). He is treated like a rock star—the girls fawn over him, while the guys wish they could be as cool as him. Lou is not happy to see the UglyDolls, but he feigns a welcome to them. Though, he seems to be hiding something. While Lou lets Moxy and her friends join his training program, at the same time, he also starts plotting ways to get them to quit or fail. He even resorts to sending his dimwitted mean girl minions—Kitty (Charli XCX), Lydia (Lizzo) and Tuesday (Bebe Rexha)—to Uglyville to kidnap Mayor Ox (Blake Shelton) as a fallback plan to convince Moxy to change her mind about going to the Big World. Meanwhile, Moxy and the UglyDolls try their best to pass the training exercises. They even try altering their appearances to better fit in. In the process, the UglyDolls befriend the bespectacled “perfect” doll Mandy (Janelle Monáe), who is dealing with some insecurities of her own.


UglyDolls may be geared more towards a younger audience, but I still found it to be a delightful visual feast with an entertaining and relateable story and characters. The film explores topics like ignoring bullies who try to tell you you need to look or act a certain way, and loving yourself for who you are. Moxy and her friends are the ones who are pure of heart and believe in themselves, making them more beautiful than the so-called “perfect” Lous of the world, who cut down others to make themselves feel better about themselves. I remember when I first saw this in the theater, a little boy in the row in front of me asked his mother “Why is he so mean?”, referring to Lou. It was refreshing to see that even at a young age, kids don’t fall for Lou’s false charms.

Despite being called UglyDolls, these characters are anything but. The residents of Uglyville are so colorful and cute, and I found myself constantly grinning while watching the adventures of Moxy and her friends—their positive attitudes are infectious. The characters also break into these terrific original songs from the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Bebe Rexha, Blake Shelton, Pitbull and more. The musical performances run the gamut from pop, to rap, to ballad, to hip-hop, and more. At least one of these songs is sure to get stuck in your head for days afterwards. The movie is just a lot of fun from start to finish.

Universal’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds excellent. The picture is crisp and clean throughout, beautifully capturing the bright colors of Uglyville and its residents. Characters and textures look incredibly detailed, especially in the iTunes 4K HDR digital copy. The soundtrack is also well done. Dialogue is clear, the original songs sound amazing, and there is a generally immersive soundtrack throughout the film.

The Blu-ray release comes packed in standard HD keepcase with a slipcover, and contains an insert with a code to redeem for a 4K iTunes digital copy of the film (it is not Movies Anywhere compatible). Both the Blu-ray and DVD discs contain the same assortment of bonus material, which consists of about 10 minutes of promotional featurettes with the cast as well as some trailers. The Blu-ray and digital copy also offer the ability to watch the film in a Sing Along mode.



What’s Included:

Film: (1:27:50)

    Blu-ray:

    • 1080p / Widescreen 1.85:1
    • Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English DVS (Descriptive Video Service)
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

    DVD:

    • 480i / Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
    • Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DVS (Descriptive Video Service)
    • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

    Digital (for redemption deadline, see NBCUcodes.com):

    • 4K digital copy redeemable via iTunes (Not Movies Anywhere compatible)
      Even though it didn’t get a 4K UltraHD media release, you can still check out the film in all its 4K HDR/Dolby Atmos glory via the Apple TV 4K.

Extras:

All of the bonus material, except for the Sing-Along Edition of the movie can be found on both the Blu-ray and the DVD discs—the DVD only offers the Theatrical Version of the film.

  • Sing-Along Edition (1:27:50)
    In this alternative viewing mode, lyrics will pop up on screen during the musical numbers, along with a bouncing button to help you sing along with the songs. This mode is not available with the DVS audio track or with subtitles enabled.
  • Making UglyDolls (4:59)
    Collection of short promotional featurettes with the cast of the film. Play All, or select from:

    • BTS Countdown (:48)
      Footage of the cast members in the recording studio—Nick Jonas (“Lou”), Blake Shelton (“Ox”), Charli XCX (“Kitty”), Lizzo (“Lydia”), Kelly Clarkson (“Moxy”), Pitbull (“Ugly Dog”), Janelle Monáe (“Mandy”), Emma Roberts (“Wedgehead”), Wang Leehom (“Lucky Bat”) and Gabriel Iglesias (“Babo”).
    • Couldn’t Be Better (:59)
      Stars Nick Jonas, Kelly Clarkson, Janelle Monáe and Pitbull talk about the film’s cast.
    • Broken and Beautiful (1:01)
      Star Kelly Clarkson talks about the song “Broken and Beautiful” that she sings in the movie.
    • The Ugly Truth (1:04)
      Star Nick Jonas talks about why he was drawn to the role of Lou, and the song “The Ugly Truth” he sings in the film.
    • Pitbull (:58)
      Star Pitbull talks about his character, Ugly Dog, and the themes of the film.
  • Fun with the Cast of UglyDolls (4:43)
    Collection of short promotional featurettes featuring the cast memebrs Kelly Clarkson, Pitbull, Nick Jonas and Janelle Monáe playing games and showcasing their talents. Play All, or select from:

    • Would You Rather (1:03)
      The cast plays a game of Would You Rather with questions related to the film/characters.
    • Cast Talents (:49)
      The cast talk about their talents.
    • Kelly’s Gifts (:48)
      Kelly Clarkson opens a box of her character’s dolls.
    • Kelly’s Reaction (:54)
      Kelly Clarkson reacts to seeing the film’s trailer for the first time.
    • Ready, Set, Draw (1:01)
      The cast members attempt to draw their characters, some more successfully than others.
  • Sing Along Tease (1:30)
    Take a glimpse of what the Sing-Along version of the film looks like.
  • Trailers (6:40)
    Play All, or select from three theatrical trailers for the film.

 


Final Thoughts:

My Rating
Film:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:
Recommended

When I first saw UglyDolls in the theater, I enjoyed it, but wasn’t blown away. However, I had even more fun with it this second time around—probably due to the fact that there were far less distractions at home than there were in the theater. The film features a delightful, heartwarming story, cute, beautifully-animated characters and sets, some wonderful original musical performances, and lots of hilarious dialogue and situations. The Blu-ray release looks and sounds great, and even includes a 4K iTunes digital copy, but the bonus material is a bit disappointing—most of it consists of short promotional featurettes that were already available on YouTube to promote the film’s theatrical release. That said, the Blu-ray still comes recommended based on the quality of the film and presentation. This film is sure to delight younger viewers, but will also be a fun time for family members of all ages.