Disney put out an original animated tale this year with a diverse family who goes on a fantastical adventure in the style of old serials, encountering odd, adorable creatures and fascinating biomes. It is also a heartfelt story about legacies and fatherhood, in addition to the strong points it makes about careful stewardship of natural resources. Sadly, too few have seen it, but since we thoroughly enjoyed our journey to this strange world, we just had to have this conversation all about why.
* Note – full spoilers in effect for entire episode *
With Breaking In, director James McTiegue makes an effort to give a fresh take on the well-worn home invasion sub-genre. It attempts to be fresh by flipping the script and having the protagonist infiltrating her own home where the antagonists have her children held hostage. Well, God bless him for trying, I suppose because this is an undeniably terrible movie. It’s poorly edited (I counted at least 3 instances where the dialogue was visibly dubbed over, presumably to attain a PG-13 rating), contains multiple instances of odd and out of place slow-motion, and has some of the blandest villains you’ll see in any film this year.
It’s quite a shame, because I’ll be damned if Gabrielle Union didn’t just absolutely bring it (yeah I did) in her role as Shaun, the aforementioned mother. She gives the character a measure of believability both as a loving mother and a woman who isn’t to be messed with. Another bright spot was Aijona Alexus, who plays Shaun’s daughter Jasmine. Believably making the transition from frightened to fierce, she has the talent to be a bright spot in more films for years to come.
Also of note is Richard Cabral’s role as the bad guy crew’s resident “badass.” You know the type. He’s the one in the group who takes matters into his own hands first, escalating the situation beyond peaceful resolution. He’s not noteworthy for anything good, but rather for his performance being laughably bad and his presence sucking the tension out of every one of his scenes. His character is not at all comedic in nature, but there were snickers in the crowd whenever he appeared on screen. Every facial expression, every gesture and every word that came out of his mouth was so unbelievably awful that it threatened to steal the show. While the other bad guys were completely forgettable (lead by Billy Burke, who probably ought to stick to TV), Cabral’s Duncan was just flat out bad.
Although Breaking In arrived just in time to give you and your mom a different type of movie to go see for Mother’s Day, I’d suggest looking elsewhere if you’re looking to take her to the theater this weekend.
Jeremy Calcara is a contributing member of the Feelin’ Film team. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter to be notified when new content is posted.