Review: Bob the Builder – Mega Machines – Bob the Builder: Mega Machines (2017)

Bob the Builder – Mega Machines – Bob the Builder: Mega Machines (2017)

Directed by: Colleen Morton, Scott Pleydell-Pearce, Stuart Evans | 60 minutes | animation, family | Dutch voice cast: Jelle Amersfoort, Barnier Geerling, Frans Limburg, Fred Meijer, Jurgen Theuns, Leo Richardson, Murth Mossel, Nine Meijer, Paul Disbergen, Sander van der Poel, Paul Donkers

In his first cinema film, Bob the Builder is right in front of his biggest job ever. Together with his trusted friends Scoop, Muck and Lofty, Bob must turn a quarry into a water reservoir and dam. But because it’s such a mega-sized project, he also needs Mega Machines to get this job done. He can borrow these Mega Machines from his competitor Conrad, another contractor from Spring City who, much to his own dismay, has been passed over for this prestigious job.

‘Bob the Builder – Mega Machines’ will be a thorn in the side of the Bob the Builder purists (if any) because the film, like the series today, is completely CGI. The original series was stop motion, something that gave Bob the Builder its own look and feel. That has been exchanged for some time for smoother animations, while the storylines, on the other hand, have remained largely the same.

That’s the beauty of construction projects: anything can always go wrong. Those challenges are the problem that needs to be solved. And that’s something that if you were to ask Bob if he can make it, he’ll no doubt answer with “Well and if”. Also in ‘Bob the Builder – Mega Machines’ the project does not run smoothly, but in this case there is an extra reason. Conrad is jealous and wants to see the project fail so he can take the job from Bob. He orders his one of his Mega Machines to sabotage the project with potentially catastrophic consequences for the residents of Spring City.

This extra threat to Bob and his buddies is also understandable for the little ones. No implicit reasons or subcutaneous feelings. Conrad tells his machines what he wants and therefore everything is immediately clear. This makes ‘Bob the Builder: Mega Machines’ extra exciting, but no less clear. The plot is straightforward and has few subplots.

‘Bob the Builder – Mega Machines’ feels more like a long episode than a standalone movie. On the one hand that is nice because it is familiar, but also a shame because it also makes it feel less special. The film must then mainly rely on the Mega Machines as a special addition and that seems to be successful. For the little builders it will be precisely this ingredient that places the film above the normal series and thus makes the (perhaps first) cinema experience special.

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