“Produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay” might not mean a lot these days. Under their Gary Sanchez banner, they’ve given us disappointments like The Campaign, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters and this summer’s Tammy, to name just a few. Even Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was a slight letdown. Their future might seem no better, with movies like a Hansel and Gretel sequel, a Flintstones feature and an adaptation of the TV series Manimal all in development. But maybe their first animated feature could be something to actually look forward to. Titled Henchmen, the film will be co-written and directed by Adam Wood, a former Pixar animator who also helmed a direct-to-video mermaid movie starring Barbie. As in the doll.
While the feature won’t be out for another two years, according to Deadline, Wood recently completed a related short titled Henchmen: Ill Suited. It’s not exactly a teaser trailer, as some are making it out to be, but it’s also not necessarily a condensed version of something we’ll see extended in 2016, either. On the Vimeo page, Bron Studios clarifies: “The short isn’t being turned into a feature per se. More like the short is a teaser for the larger world that is to come. Just a little taste.” Deadline is right to compare the short to The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, as it involves a guy with a mop who accidentally makes a big mess of the place he works. But rather than a sorcerer’s apprentice, he’s a janitor at a museum in Supervillain City. The feature, which is currently getting a rewrite from Dennis McNicholas (Land of the Lost), will also be about very low-tier henchmen — basically blue-collar workers in a land of evildoers.
Watch the short below.
Although it looks great and plays its premise well enough, Henchmen: Ill Suited does seem very familiar. And not just if you’ve seen Disney’s Fantasia. With Big Hero 6 arriving in theaters this fall, we’re already getting yet another animated feature that seems close enough to being a lesser quality clone of The Incredibles. And the world of Henchmen is clearly more focused on the supervillain side (albeit with the rise of a hero from among the baddies), which we’ve seen with Megamind (which starred the voice of Ferrell) and Despicable Me. We’re already preparing for an onslaught of live-action superhero movies, so it’s sort of unfortunate that here’s another one in animated form.
Here’s a synopsis of Henchmen via the Bron Studios website:
Hank is a lowly class three henchmen in the Union of Evil. It’s not how he pictured his career, but as he says, “you just play the cards you’re dealt”. When Hank is forced to train an excitable young dreamer, he offers the same trite poker metaphor. Instead, the boy steals an amazing super suit, changing everything.
Hank enlists a woman from his past Jolene, to help extricate the Kid from suit. Soon, the Kid has fled, and worse, Jolene has been kidnapped. Worst of all, Hank has realized he is in love. Now Hank must break his “risk nothing” code, to save the boy he’s befriended, the woman he loves, and the entire free world!