The Belcher family - Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene, and Louise make their long-awaited big-screen debut in the charmingly hilarious The Bob’s Burgers Movie. Co-written and Co-directed by Loren Bouchard, this cinematic outing gives the show a visual and sonic boost with the simple charms of this average American family trying to make it by doing what they love - making burgers! Now on Blu-ray from 20th Century Studios/Disney - the film scores a fantastic 1080p debut with an excellent audio mix and a fine assortment of entertaining and informative bonus features. Fans of the show will have a great time while newcomers should get a kick out of it - Highly Recommended.
His name is Bob Belcher (H. Jon Benjamin) and he makes burgers. Together with his wife Linda (John Roberts) and their three kids Tina (Dan Mintz), Gene (Eugene Merman), and Louise (Kristen Schaal) he makes the best of owning a struggling burger restaurant near Seymore’s Bay’s big amusement park - Wonder Wharf. Now the bank wants Bob to pay up on his loan in seven days or they’ll repossess his kitchen equipment. But when a massive sinkhole blocks their entrance revealing the dead body of a murdered carnie - Bob, Linda, and the kids will have to find a way to save the restaurant, solve the mystery, and also hopefully maybe be able to pay the loan and their rent to their colorfully eccentric cycloptic landlord Mr. Fischoeder (Kevin Kline).
After thirteen seasons and over 200 episodes, Bob’s Burgers hasn’t lost a step. The show started as this little charming, mostly harmless, and relatively family-friendly primetime cartoon that felt like the perfect answer to the brash and obnoxious Family Guy or the hilariously crude South Park. With a delightful mix of whimsy, wit, and music, the show thrived with a colorful cast of characters and terrific voice talent. By seasons three and four, the show found its true groove and has remained incredibly entertaining year after year. For a long time, it was teased that a Bob’s Burgers movie would happen, and now it’s here and to the relief of this fan - it’s a hoot!
The Bob’s Burgers Movie looks and feels bigger than the show but it never loses its small-screen heart and soul. The animation is crisper and cleaner with some 3-D enhancements to the 2-D aesthetic, but it’s still Bob’s Burgers. It’s taken on the shape and form of a classic Hollywood musical complete with impressive catchy songs and impeccably choreographed dance numbers, albeit animated. It’s what you want from a big-screen version of your favorite show; a lot more, a lot bigger, but still the same show.
If there’s a little bit of a stumbling block of this movie is that its plot is almost too closely tied to the structure of the show. Over the years there have been plenty of great and incredibly funny two-parter episodes and The Bob’s Burgers Movie feels like one of those two-parters. However, instead of a story that’d run for about 50 minutes without commercials, it runs for 102. Some padding was to be expected and much of it is welcome, but there are also several spots where the film drifts and could have been tightened up a tad. But if the movie was any shorter they’d risk cutting a couple of the great songs that stand up to the heavy hitters from Menken or Sondheim and animated dance choreography that’d humble Michael Kidd or Jerome Robbins. But through it all, the film never loses the heart of the show: its unending sense of hope. The Belchers are almost always against the ropes and one bad check away from financial ruin, but they keep pushing and working and somehow they keep just barely making it - but making it nonetheless. That’s the joy of the series that perfectly translates to this big cinematic undertaking.
Little niggles aside - I had a blast with The Bob’s Burgers Movie. I love the show and have watched through the series numerous times over the years and this was a real treat. The talented voice cast is on their A-Game with series favorites like Larry Murphy’s lovable Teddy, Zach Galifianakis’ Felix Fischoeder, Gary Cole’s Sgt. Bosco, David Herman’s Mr. Frond along with regulars Jordan Peele, Brian Huskey, Bobby Tisdale, and Aziz Ansari among numerous others all chipping in for this grand adventure. As an old guard fan, I was happy with all of the references and callbacks peppered throughout but thankful it never felt unwieldy for newcomers. If you’ve only seen a few episodes - or none at all - you shouldn’t feel the need to rush through the show to enjoy the movie. Pop some corn, or better yet pick up a burger, and have fun!
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Bob’s Burgers Movie comes home on Blu-ray from 20th Century Studios/Disney in a single-disc Blu-ray + Digital set. Pressed on a region-free BD-50 disc, the disc is housed in a standard sturdy case with identical slipcover artwork. The menu structure is like any other Disney release with a language menu ahead of the main menu with traditional navigation options. In a fun very “Bob” touch, when you resume the movie and it recognizes you’ve already started it, it asks if you want to continue and the reply buttons are “Yep” or “Nope.” In another fun piece to the menu, every time you go from a sub-menu like “Extras” or “Scenes,” the main menu animation changes.
A Best Buy Exclusive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray SteelBook is coming on release day, July 19th and we aim to review that as soon as we get our hands on it. This SteelBook is currently the only physical 4K disc slated for release right now. It's possible a standard 4K UHD Blu-ray will come along, but it's Disney so who knows.
Bold, colorful, and well detailed, The Bob’s Burgers Movie scores a lovely 2.39:1 1080p transfer. Episodes of the show are framed at 1.78:1 so this aspect ratio change makes the film look and feel bigger and more cinematic. The animation has obviously undergone some enhancements benefitting from a larger production budget with a lot more three-dimensionally styled backgrounds and framing than you’d see in an average episode. It looks a little different but very much in keeping with the show, just bigger and more expensive looking. Animation lines and details such as they exist in this little universe are clean and clear. Colors are big and bold with a lovely array of primary saturation seen throughout the show but now extra bold and crisp for the big screen with a lot more dynamic lighting and shadows. Free of any noticeable compression issues, this disc gives me hope that maybe someday one day we could actually get physical Blu-ray disc releases of the series.
When you’ve got a big animated musical you need a big soundscape and this DTS-HD MA 5.1 track delivers the goods. From the very first opening number, the film sounds appropriately large and engaging for a big-screen version of the show. Simple sound effects like an echo in the restaurant that is perpetually void of customers or a hose from across the street at Jimmy Pesto’s all pickup and carry in this soundscape. Then the big song and dance numbers kick in and the mix opens up for a fully engaging surround experience. Throughout dialog is crystal clear without any issues. Scoring is on point. Levels are spot on without any need for monitoring and there’s plenty of imaging to keep the channels active and moving. All around a terrific mix for this film.
Not to leave anything at the restaurant, The Bob’s Burgers Movie also comes packed with a delightful variety of fun bonus features. The biggest beast of the bunch is the cast and crew audio commentary. It’s a little stacked with personalities including Loren Bouchard, H. Jon Benjamin, Dan Mintz, John Roberts, Kristen Schaal, with co-writer Nora Smith, co-director Bernard Derriman, and production designer Rubin Hickman. There’s a lot going on with this track and it can get a little unfocused considering how many people are on, but it’s very entertaining. The making-of is certainly informative tracing the lines from where the show began to the live shows to the making of the film. The deleted scenes are unfinished but you get an idea of some of the goofy scenes they had to cut. The rest of the features focus on how they made the film from concept and storyboards to the finished product and it’s all very interesting stuff worth digging into.
The Bob’s Burgers Movie was everything I wanted from a big-screen adventure of one of my favorite primetime cartoons. It may be bigger and more expensive-looking, but it still feels the same. The heart of the show is still beating strong as you cheer for the Belchers to finally catch anything resembling a break. The plot may be a little thin to support its runtime, but it’s still a very entertaining flick with some great catchy songs and plenty of humor and heart to hold itself up. A genuine treat for fans and newcomers alike!
20th Century Studios/Disney grills up a terrific Blu-ray release. The 1080p transfer looks great and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track really delivers the goods. If that wasn’t enough, the bonus features are a really fun and informative garnish well worth digging into. Whether or not you’re a fan of the show, The Bob’s Burgers Movie is the perfect light-hearted feel-good film for these stressful times. Highly Recommended