Sausage Party

This movie is NOT for everyone. Its crude, vulgar and crass. Its childish and rude, dumb and full of sex, swearing and violence. Here’s the trailer in case it has slipped under your radar:

Now with swearing:

That poor toilet roll.. I linked the second trailer because it shows the level of swearing in the dialogue much better, the characters use swear words as naturally as any other word, so its pretty frequent. Rated R in the US and 15 here in the UK, Sausage Party is going to be controversial. Seth Rogen (Pineapple Express, Superbad) is the writer behind this one, the famous Hollywood pothead success story himself, and the voice cast is actual pretty great, featuring Salma Hayak, Michael Cera, Edward Norton (although you wont recognise his voice) and James Franco.

When i heard about the film and the premise; food stuffs that are alive, that’s something i was immediately very interested in! If you follow my blog or Instagram at all you’ll know p-slice and maybe you’ll have seen hotdog guy or another food related character. I think they’re great! So i went into this film, especially after seeing the trailer, kind of excited. I wanted to see how far they took the characters on their adventures after finding out they are eaten by the gods, and how they would handle that as filmmakers. After seeing the film, i wasn’t disappointed.

We are so used to seeing into the lives of ‘blank’ – bees, ants, toys, cars, pets/animals, etc, the animation industry has been doing it for a while – this was a refreshing take on that whole shabangalang.

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Don’t quote me on this but apparently Sasha Baron Cohen said it was the single craziest thing hes ever seen in his life. Borat. Borat said it was the craziest thing hes ever seen in his entire f*cking life. Borat said that. So if that doesn’t intrigue you i don’t know what will. [http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/sacha-baron-cohen-appalled-by-seth-rogens-rrated-cartoon-sausage-party-20160316-gnkrou.html]

This film has a story-line, heroes and a villain, romance.. I’m not saying its good though, but its a decent little film and has a plot, as long as you aren’t easily offended and you enjoy that kind of humour its alright. If you don’t like South Park its unlikely you’ll enjoy this, i feel like those audiences will heavily overlap. It has its moments, and i have to say i was actually totally shocked at the places the film went with its characters, but its could have gone further, just.But it went there and made fun of everything, maybe its not exactly clever, but its genuinely unique and fresh, its something new in so many ways without actually doing all that much new.

So yeah, this isn’t really a review. More of a ‘hey guys there’s this silly movie where food is all alive and they believe humans are gods but then they find out we eat them and its crazy!’ Really r-rated animations don’t happen enough, they are always aimed more at younger more inclusive audiences, so i hope this movie opens the doors for more of the same. I heard someone say this will open the flood gates for more r-rated animated movies and i really hope that’s the case.

Oh yeah before i forget, there are some people claiming its full of racism so:

Writing on the Birth Movies Death website, Devin Faraci said: ‘The ethnic jokes in aren’t just there because they’re funny – and holy s*** are many of them unbelievably funny – they’re there because the script is directly engaging what they mean.

‘This is a movie where all the different foods are split up into aisles, and each food has a dedication to its own aisle, and each aisle has its own beliefs and religion, and Frank travels through them all trying to bring everybody together.

 ‘The movie is, in its own jokey way, celebrating the differences among nations and peoples while also reminding us that those differences are only skin deep.’

Just something to think about, stereotype jokes/ mocking stereotypes = racism for some people. I know the film pushed boundaries with its humour, but its hardly the most controversial thing to exist and be enjoyed by audiences, i think everyone will have to make their own mind up if they enjoy it or not really. It wont resonate with everyone.

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Anyway onto the other stuff, the main reason for this blog post. There have been allegations that the animating staff were mistreated on this film. I don’t pretend to have a  deep understanding of this topic, but as an animation student i’m interested, so here’s what I’ve found so far:

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/feature-film/sausage-party-directors-conrad-vernon-greg-tiernan-making-2016s-outlandish-animated-film-142425.html

Here’s the question and response from Greg (director):

The production cost for the film has been reported in the entertainment press as being around $20 million.

Greg Tiernan: Neither Conrad or I can confirm or deny that actual figure, but all I will say is that when Conrad pitched the movie to us, and we made our pact and vow to Conrad, and to Seth and Evan, and eventually to Megan Ellison at Annapurna and to Sony Columbia, we knew damn well that we could deliver a movie that looks like a $150 million movie for a fraction of the cost. That’s about as close as I can get to confirming or denying that figure. In general, that’s the whole reason we started the studio 13 years ago. After working in the L.A. industry for many years, I could see so much money just needlessly thrown down the toilet in making a lot of these movies. It doesn’t have to cost that much money when you’re well organized, and you have your mind set on the goal of what you want to do, and you get the job done with a small, determined crew. But yeah, let’s just say it was a lower budget movie.

Now here’s the (now seemingly infamous) comment below the article:

The production cost were kept low because Greg would demand people work overtime for free. If you wouldn’t work late for free your work would be assigned to someone who would stay late or come in on the weekend. Some artist were even threatened with termination for not staying late to hit a deadline.

The animation department signed a petition for better treatment and paid overtime. When the letter got to Annapurna they stepped in and saw that artist were payed and fed when overtime was needed.

Over 30 animators left during the coarse of the production due to the stress and expectations. Most of them left before the paid overtime was implemented. This was met with animosity and was taken as a personal insult to the owners. Their names were omitted from the final credits despite working for over a year on this film.

Worrying no? Although its basically an anonymous poster here, so is it true? Well its not the only comment, keep reading if you’re interested but there are more entries by supposed ex-employees who claim similar stuff – even leaving amicably due to visa problems but still being uncredited in the movie.

Certainly the risk of being blacklisted from the industry is a real concern in the movie industry in general, or at least the fear of being blacklisted definitely seems to exist. But Annapurna appears to have made things right in the end.. right?

Well…. Here’s an open letter from the VFX Union UK:

http://vfxforum.org/2016/08/sausage-party-nitrogen-open-letter/

It’s sad to say, but stories of poor working conditions are becoming an embarrassingly regular occurrence in our industry. From the infamous MPC Variety article, to the Life of Pi Oscar debacle, time and again we’ve found our industry’s troubles in the spotlight. We’ve seen reports of a client saying “If I don’t put a visual effects shop out of business (on my movie), I’m not doing my job”. We’ve seen a facility exec tell an audience that if you don’t like long hours then you should get out. We’ve seen hundreds of VFX artists left off the credits of Star Trek Beyond. We’ve seen friends and colleagues forced to uproot their lives and move around the globe to chase tax-breaks and production whims. The question is this: when are things finally going to change?.

We would like to invite everyone around the world who’s read Nitrogen’s story and recognised these horror stories to join their local VFX union. We’ve started a process here in London. However, our recognition bids are only one piece of the puzzle. If you’re waiting for us to fix everything for you world-wide, then you’re in for a long wait. This is a big industry, and we can’t change the whole thing without you. We need to act together.

People are not doing nothing, and the papers are obviously happy to report on it, so there’s that: Examples of that:

http://www.nme.com/filmandtv/news/-sausage-party-hit-by-claims-its-animation-team-we/414843

‘Sausage Party’ Animators Allege Studio Used Unpaid Overtime

https://www.inverse.com/article/19973-sausage-party-animator-abuse-highlights-industry-issues

I feel like this quote from the above link sheds further light on the issue:

“All they have to do is outsource it to a job shop, and let the job shops bid on the work, and they’ll lowball each other to get it. It is a low-margin business, because everybody is bidding against one another.”

red-band-comic-con-trailer-sausage-party

So yeah, that’s Sausage Party, love it or hate it, either way peoples reactions to this movie (and its trailers) are the best. [Evil finebros link:]

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