Despite Decent Cast, ‘Heroes of the Golden Masks’ Exemplifies Slipshod Animated Movies

Ulises Duenas


If there’s one thing “Heroes of the Golden Masks” proves is that a decent cast doesn’t guarantee anything. This is an animated movie with no charm, a cliche story, and voice acting so bad it’s baffling.


Five heroes possess a set of magical masks, each one bestowing one special ability on the wearer. They defend the kingdom of Sanxingdui in ancient China from a generic villain who appears like something ripped right out of “Power Rangers.” After one of the heroes dies in battle, his daughter travels to a modern-day city to find a replacement and recruits Charlie who lives as a pickpocket.



The story has the central theme of how important having a “family” is, which is driven into your skull with ham-fisted dialogue over and over. The rest is a generic romp of heroes fighting monsters until the villain is defeated. The writing is extremely basic and does nothing to give the movie any kind of charm or heart.


I know this movie is aimed at a younger audience, but we’re living in a time when animation has evolved well beyond its original constraints and can deliver amazing films that appeal to all audiences and ages.


The real pitfall here is how bad and unenthusiastic the voice acting is. I was interested that Patton Oswalt and Ron Perlman were in the movie -- Oswalt as the fish man Aesop and Perlman as the villain -- but was shocked by their performances. Perlman in particular sounds monotone, as though he’s reading a phonebook. He has an extensive resume in videogames and animation, so I can only assume his lackluster performance here is because of a lack of direction or knowing that the material wasn’t worth the effort. Oswalt tries more by comparison, but even his performance doesn’t match what he did in “Ratatouille” as Remy. It could all come down to poor editing and bad direction, since some lines are delivered without any natural pauses in between and are often delivered in the same cadence as a third grader doing their turn of reading the textbook out loud.



The first half of the movie seemed to be headed in the direction of “so bad it’s entertaining,” yet it just becomes boring after a while. The characters are uninspired; the plot is nonsense; and the general look of the film is lifeless. It all comes off as a bargain-bin version of “Kung Fu Panda” and it’s an insult to the intelligence of all viewers and the standards of animated movies. Some people might find value it as fodder for a bad movie night, but that’s about it.


Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer at Highbrow Magazine.


For Highbrow Magazine


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