Misleading Marketing Makes This One Worse Than It Has To Be
Here’s the reality about Phase 4 Films- consistency is never a priority. They go and acquire the English rights to foreign CG films and franchises and sometimes keep things faithful to the source material, other times not so much. What we know as Bold Eagles is in fact the latest edition in a long-standing Norwegian children’s staple called Pelle Politibil. Pelle is a talking police car who has been around since the 1980s and has recently made the transition into 3D CG with a couple of films. Now interestingly enough, Phase 4 has already brought one of these films over here under the name Police Patrol back in early 2013. Rather than call this one what it really is; the next Police Patrol movie, they opted to ditch any and all reference to Pelle in the marketing material and instead pawn this one off as a bird-themed talking animal flick in the vein of Rio or Open Season.
Of course this would be fine and good except for the fact that very early on, in a world attempting to mix regular human beings with some (but not all) English-speaking animals, we have an anthropomorphic talking police car named Radar cruising around. It fits into the prose with all of the subtlety of Pixar deciding to integrate Lightning McQueen into Up.
All of that being said, Bold Eagles is the tale of a beautiful park/ nature preserve under attack by an RV-driving female poacher and her daughter. Theirs is a mission of simple money-making by killing and having stuffed all of the animals they encounter in the park to be sold off as monuments to the wealthy. The bad news is the Princess of Norway(?) opens the film by proclaiming that were anything to happen to the resident mother eagle and her egg, the park would be shut down. While the human police officers are bumbling fools, Radar is on the case with an absent-minded otter the likes of which could make Finding Nemo’s Dory seem scholarly and what ensues is 72-minutes of pretty juvenile CG antics.
That’s not to say the film is completely without its charms, however, and a few of the textures are very nicely done (among these eerily lifelike brown water in the lake and animals that sometimes appear to be almost claymation). For an English dub over a foreign vocal track, the lip syncing is surprisingly decent, even if some of the choices for character accents are very strangely out of place (why does the Princess sound like she’s from Texas?).
In all, Bold Eagles doesn’t commit any major crimes so much as it does nothing redeemable to make selecting it as a purchase or rental over a similarly priced DreamWorks or Disney piece a realistic option by any means. Fortunately the pacing here is much more consistent (and less painful) than a lot of other domestic released CG DVDs made on the practice of slapping English over a foreign film. Even still, though, it’s tough to get past the sheer oddity in this one’s plot structure, thanks in no small part to the fact that this is at it’s core a story about a beloved talking police car that just so happens to have some eagles in it (not the other way around). If you’re set on trying to make the most of the character/ franchise for the young ones, you’d probably be best off to start with Police Patrol then work into this one as a continuation of the universe established there. The rest of us would probably be better just avoiding the whole thing altogether.