The misguided husband is currently taking a break from writing and after watching this film, it became apparent why.
I decided that now, whilst I am at home this much (Covid-19 lockdown, for those reading this in the future), I will watch through the Disney releases of 2020 and review them (which was something I was going to do with all new releases moving forward anyway, but Mulan has been delayed). It is very interesting seeing through the eyes of a non-nostalgic Disney viewer, as the style of film ‘Timmy Failure’ falls into the category of films that I don’t tend to watch (aimed at the age group below ‘teens’ and not animated). They just don’t appeal to me. So, I was interested to see what I thought of it and went in with an open mind, convinced that as it’s Disney, I will love it. So, I said to Ben, “I’m going upstairs to watch a new Disney film”, to which he responded (as he had briefly misheard me), “That sounds like my kind of ‘Isney’ film” (say my sentence out loud, if you missed what he might’ve heard). The fact that I’d said that I was going upstairs, in the middle of the day, to watch it, must’ve very much raised his eyebrows. Anyway, onto the review!
The story is based around a boy called Timmy Failure (shock), that looks like he is about 7, but apparently is 11 (thanks IMBD). As surnames tend to start as one word and evolve into another over time, I’d love to know at which point his evolved to ‘Failure’, because I think I would’ve changed it much further back in the ancestral chain, if that had been my family name. Timmy is an only-child that lives with his single mum (you see his Dad walk out on them at the beginning of the film) and believes that he runs his own detective agency with his partner, Total, a full-sized polar bear. Now, initially, I was wondering how he managed to own a polar bear but, alas, Total is essentially his imaginary friend. I should add here that the polar bear is seriously cute, for a 1200-pound carnivore. The film follows Timmy’s life as he tries to run his detective agency and deal with school, whilst trying to prove that all the crime in the area is being perpetrated by the Russians that live in his city (Portland, Oregon).
That’s it. That’s the whole story. Haven’t even given away spoilers because nothing unexpected happens. I’m now going to cover all the parts of the story that I liked before I start my rant about cover all the parts that I didn’t like.
I liked the polar bear, probably because it appeared to be a real bear. I’m assuming that this was done using CGI or something, as I don’t think it would be possible to tame a polar bear to that degree. I could watch animals all day, so I should probably check out some of the nature documentaries on Disney+. Hmm, what else did I like? I like Molly Moskins’s hair… and her cat. I liked the effort that Timmy’s mum’s new boyfriend was making such a genuine effort to bond with Timmy and that they do get closer throughout the film.
Sorry, that’s all I could give you. Four things (and two of them were purely the existence of certain animals). Onto the things I didn’t like.
Timmy just wasn’t the sort of character that I felt I could get behind. He seemed too… broken. I know that sounds awful and I genuinely don’t mean it the way it reads, so let me try and explain. I have two children. A 15-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son. I was a single mother to until my daughter was around the age of 3 and one of my biggest fears was that I would let her down as a parent and wouldn’t be able to raise her to be a strong person that can cope with the world. I felt that Timmy wasn’t coping with the world at all and his mum’s frustration was all too close to home, for me. I do have a habit (as does Ben) of getting too emotionally invested in fictional characters (see Ben’s Bambi review if you want to see how much). It was quite clear that he had created this world of ‘being a detective’, as I way of attempting to gain some control of his life. We see that ‘Total’ comes into his life shortly after his dad leaves. The child has developed an ability to block all his emotions. He says, “Affirmative” instead of “Yes”, “Negative” instead of “No” and, more concernedly, he can not bring himself to say the word, “Sorry”, when he has done something wrong (even to his mum) and instead says, “Mistakes were made” (hence the tagline to the film). Timmy clearly has compassion, and we see this a few times throughout the film, but at times my heart breaks for his mum. Funnily enough, I don’t want to watch a Disney film and feel like I’m psychoanalyzing the characters. I appreciate the most people just watch films and switch off from seeing the characters as humans, but I really struggle. My issue. Shall we psychoanalyze me? Let’s not, eh. By the end of the film, he has developed in his character a bit, but not enough to make it worthwhile. Then the film just ends. It doesn’t seem to have the usual beginning, middle and end. It just… is. There is no real sense of starting at an equilibrium, getting into a disequilibrium and the ending at equilibrium again. I found that at 25 minutes in, it was really struggling to hold my attention.
On the upside, this film has given me a new level of appreciation for how Ben feels when he watches Disney films without the nostalgia that I have of my childhood-self watching them. It is difficult to write a review when you didn’t find the film interesting and I can see why he is currently needing a bit of a break. He’ll be back very soon though.
In conclusion, I found that nothing really happens in this film and that I really didn’t enjoy it. Would I watch it again? Think I’ve just answered that. Mistakes were made.