Review: Barnyard – Animals (2006)

Barnyard – Animals (2006)

Directed by: Steve Oedekerk | 90 minutes | animation, comedy, family | Original voice cast: Kevin James, Courteney Cox, Sam Elliott, Danny Glover, Wanda Sykes, Andie Macdowell, David Koechner, Jeffrey Garcia, Cam Clarke | Dutch voice cast: Kasper van Kooten, Niki Romijn, Pim Koopman, Oscar Harris, Inge Severijnse, Ine Kuhr, Jan Nonhof, Reinder van der Naalt, Johnny Kraaykamp Jr.

The animated film ‘Barnyard: The Original Party Animals’ will mainly be remembered as ‘the movie with the udders’. In ‘Barnyard’ we see an anatomical wonder of the purest water: male cows, complete with udders. Those udders look fascinating, like shiny pink rubber implants that have been planted on top of the cow bellies with wonderfully supple nipples. Since these cows also live upright, it all looks completely bizarre. Strangely enough, those udders are the funniest find in this American animated comedy.

The plot of ‘Barnyard’ – a coming-of-age story about a cow that just can’t seem to grow up – never captivates and is made up of clichés. The much more ingenious ‘The Lion King’ undoubtedly served as a source of inspiration.

In addition, the animations are anything but beautiful, the music is too flashy, there are far too many characters walking around and the good jokes can be counted on the nipples of one udder. Predictability rules and it’s a good thing that ‘Barnyard: The Original Party Animals’ (the latter also sounds like something you get as a gift with the purchase of three bags of chips) clocks in at no more than 90 minutes.

But what makes this film really annoying is the brutal violence. Violence in an animated film for children can be quite funny, as long as there is something cartoonish about this violence. In ‘Barnyard’ the violence is often far too realistic, especially the donkey kicks that a friendly farmer gets in the face are completely out of place. The question is whether children don’t get nightmares from the creepy coyotes, especially because the violence of those animals is rarely put into perspective here.

All this makes ‘Barnyard’ one of the worst animated films of recent years. In that respect, the film lives up to its Dutch title ‘Beestenboel’. In addition, this film is yet another proof that the American animation world is at a dead end and that it is high time for some innovation. And by innovation we do not mean male cows with udders.

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