Movie Time: Sausage Party (2016)
Financially speaking, the film was an overwhelming success, made on a budget of $19,000,000. To date Sausage Party has grossed roughly $122,000,000 worldwide! Now; according to Variety.com, Sony launched its largest digital marketing campaign (based on percentage of the film’s marketing budget) in the company’s history. They spent roughly half of the budget for digital advertising on platforms such as Snap chat, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Across the platforms, the movie’s uncut/ unrated trailers have been viewed a staggering 224 MILLION times! Just take a moment and Let that number sink in.
Sausage party is the latest slap happy-crass-humor infused film from the team that brought us such films such as The Night Before, The Interview, This Is The End, Superbad, Pineapple Express & 50/50. Sausage Party was written by Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg, and Jonah Hill. Who once again, they have proven that they’ are a comedic team who know how to hit their marks and work beyond well together. The film was directed by Greg Tieman (The director of every Thomas & Friends film since 2010) & Conrad Vemon (The director of Monsters vs. Aliens).
Viewers get some top-notch voice acting from from the likes of; Michael Cera, James Franco, Bill Hader, Salma Hayek, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and Paul Rudd, just to name a few.
The plot is simple. All the items in “Shopwells Grocery Store” are sentient beings that can move around; they have thoughts, they have feelings, and they can speak, but they go unnoticed by humans because they exist in a parallel plane of existence that masks their cognitive ability from humans. Like I said, simple right? There is, however, a method that can be used by to allow humans to see into this particular plane of existence, but we won’t spoil just how it’s done for you.
The inhabitants of Shopwells have a system of theology wherein they believe that once they are picked up by a human and placed in a cart, they have been selected and are headed for “The great beyond”. When a chance accident happens in the store causing some of the contents of a shopping cart bound for “The Great Beyond” to spill out onto the floor, the in a scene that rivals that of the opening shots from of war epics the like the one seen in Saving Private Ryan. A group of ragtag items band together determined to make their way back across the store to their section so they can be repackaged and hopefully get selected once again.
While on their mission Frank (The Protagonist – Hotdog) discovers that “The Great Beyond” is but a carefully constructed lie manufactured by a group known as the “Non-Perishables” which consists of a bottle of “Firewater” whiskey, a Box of racist grits, and a Twinkie with a stylish blonde quaff named “Twink”. When one of the Non-Perishables leaves the store and then is subsequently returned, he informs a select few about the horrors outside that await them, so they created the myth of what lies beyond the doors to shield the others from the horrors that await them.
After learning the truth about what is waiting for them outside the safety of Shopwells’ doors, Frank spends the majority of the film in an existential crisis. He attempts to convince his friends that they don’t want to go to the great beyond, but all the truth he speaks just comes across as the ravings of a mad man.
As with the team’s other film “This Is The End,” Sausage party, while a comedy, tries to attack some rather serious issues. Starting with Ranging from religion and the afterlife, it also touches upon politics, sexual identity, and even premarital sex. The above mentioned topics may be a little off compared to what viewers might have been expecting based on the film’s trailers, but I believe they handled the religious and sociopolitical issues in such a manner that they make them accessible to everyone regardless of a person’s knowledge of current world events.
So, that was as spoiler free a review/ synopsis as one could write. The film is ok. Not great. Not bad; but just ok. Is it funny? Hell yeah. Is it crude? Well, with a title like Sausage party what more could one expect? Will you watch it more than once? Probably. Should you buy it on Blu-ray? Yeah! You will love the experience of showing it to someone for the first time and watching the look of combined shock, awe and disgust on your friend’s faces. That alone will keep you coming back.
Now that the review is over, we can talk about a teeny-tiny issue surrounding the production of the film. Making a feature film for $19 million in today’s market is almost unheard of. But, making a watchable animated feature for that price sounds like a special kind of sorcery. But in reality, it was nothing short of an outright disaster.
Scores of animators that worked on the project have come forward claiming calming that the film’s producers and managers of the animation studio forced the artists to work an insane amount of overtime without being compensated. And, if they complained, they were sacked and had their names stricken from the credits. In film, you’re your really only as good as your last project and with that being said, getting a credit is gold. It’s proof that you did something, affirmation of your labors, and evidence of your skill in your craft. There were many scores of other issues and one of the more notable ones was rampant penny pinching – specifically in the area of rendering and what software licenses the studio was willing to pay for.
According to Deadline.com: IATSE (International Alliance Of Theatrical Stage Employees) has offered to help the animators fight the unfair and deplorable working conditions. When more information comes to light, we’ll be sure to post an update!