Sad Hill Media

Film & Lesser Arts with Will Ross, Devan Scott, & Daniel Jeffery.

Will Ross

I’ve done my research and racked my brains, but honestly can’t think of a way to explain Foodfight. I mean, I can give you the basics: it’s an animated film of such staggering ineptitude that it shows neither its decade-long development nor its $65 million budget. But I am honestly at a loss to explain to you how horrendous the thing is with any kind of clarity or concision.

There are, to be sure, animated films of equal or greater technical incompetence, at least in terms of the animation itself. The failures on every other level of craftsmanship — editing, direction, scripting, whatever —  drag it to abominable depths, but Foodfight’s incomprehensibility is multiplied by its ambition. When Threshold Entertainment first announced the project in the early 2000s, founder and director Larry Kasanoff touted his studio as “the next Pixar” with apparent sincerity.

So determined was Threshold to stack up to Pixar that their premise amounted to a half-baked Toy Story rip-off: when the owner of a supermarket closes the store for the night, it turns into a city, and the mascots for each brand, called “icons”, wake up and live their own lives. The city looks like it goes far into the horizon and resembles the actual daytime store not at all.

Foodfight has one of the most incoherent worlds of any fantasy film I’ve ever seen, in seemingly every way possible. The ubiquitous product placement and endless cringeworthy food puns (fucking ENDLESS) make it clear that we’re in a fantasy version of a supermarket, and one character explicitly says that it’s “against the rules” to be seen by humans, but neither of these things ever seem to apply to the story in any logical, consistent way.

There is no sense of the characters’ daily lives: the film opens with its hero, Dex Dogtective (Charlie Sheen, and let’s just stop talking about the celebrity cast right now), fighting four hairless hamsters on a hot air balloon. The fight ends with a display of cartoon physics that shows one of the film’s countless fatal errors: cartoon physics need to have some spatial coherence, some rules and consistencies in order to be funny.

But if you can look at the thing and suppress your gag reflex, it is funny; a true paragon of so-bad-it’s-good moviemaking, one whose jerky animations, bungled detail work, and utter lack of logic make for a hilariously protracted trainwreck of moviemaking. Any action of virtually any level of complexity is almost sure to be a jaw-dropping disaster of flailing limbs and jerky movement, and the film’s thousands of food puns and references to Casablanca (yep) are so persistently unfunny that they become a spectacle all their own. The editing and spastic camera movements stagger the film forward like a horrible Frankenstein’s creation, and give the constant mayhem an extra absurdist punch.

It is, no exaggeration, utterly useless to describe any characters or their relationships. It's barely better to talk about the way the noirish plot turns inexplicably into a half-assed war movie pitting the product icons (called “Ikes” for short) against Nazi analogues, who aim to exterminate the Ikes to replace their products with the anonymous Brand X. 
The film’s plot threads are so loaded with contradictions, loose ends and non sequiturs that it would take hundreds of words to even introduce you to Dex or his concerns, let alone comment upon them in any detail. And on a visual level, there is zero consistency of style (perhaps because the bulk of Threshold animators were outsourced and worked from home).

Obviously, Threshold failed to live up to the prestige of Pixar: the film was eventually auctioned off for $2.5 million and is plainly one of the most atrocious pieces of work I’ve ever seen, from all involved and at all times. But it is, nonetheless, a one-of-a-kind achievement, easily the most staggeringly bad tenth-rate animation I’ve ever seen. Its sheer ignorance of its shortcomings clash so resoundingly with its ambition (and we are talking about the storytelling ambition of a 12-year-old) that Foodfight is a one-of-a-kind surreal comedy experience. You really need to see it to believe it (and easily can — the complete feature has leaked onto YouTube). There is absolutely nothing good to be found, be it in concept or execution.

Well, I tried; if I have not given a clear picture of it, that’s because there is no clear picture to be had. I mean, I just look at the thing anBAAARRRRFF BARF BARRFFF BAAAARF BBBAAARRRRRFFFFFFF BARF BARRRF BARRF BARF BAAAARF BBAAARF BARFFF BBBAAARRRRRRRRF BAAAAAAARRRFFFFFF


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