The two most important men in my life, my father and my 15-month old nephew, Landon, both adore watching movies. This means most of my quality time with the two of them is spent on the couch munching popcorn and watching a flick.
My dad usually enjoys watching an intense and intellectually stimulating movie. It’s not necessarily my forte, but anything to please the old man. One of the more recent movies we watched together was “The Imitation Game,” initially chosen by my dad; however, I had been eager to watch this movie.
My nephew, on the other hand, has a very different movie taste than my father. Landon prefers a more light-hearted and gullible film. Last week, Landon and I scrolled through Netflix looking for a movie. I read aloud each title and once he heard “The Boss Baby”, a little giggle bellowed from his lips, which indicates that this is the movie Landon wants to watch. This was never a movie I had intentions of watching, however, I don’t know how to say no to my sweet nephew, so “The Boss Baby” it is.
Both movies involve a male protagonist seeking to take back control from a sneaky, scheming adversary. The movies’ leads, Alec Baldwin, voice of Boss Baby, and Benedict Cumberbatch, as Alan Turing, bring their respective characters a uniqueness sometimes absent in movies featuring babies or super geniuses.
In “The Imitation Game”, Alan Turing, an expert puzzle solver, is hired by the allies during WWII to decode the unbreakable Nazi Enigma machine. He works alongside a team and if successful, the allies would gain an advantage and possibly win the war.
Boss Baby faces a similar, yet not as intimidating, enigma of his own. Boss Baby is employed by Baby Corp. to infiltrate the looming Puppy Co. that is threatening the balance and attempting to annihilate the existence of babies in order to gain all the attention for themselves. Boss Baby teams up with his interim big brother, Tim Templeton, voiced by Tobey Maguire, to take on the job.
As each movie progresses, both Turing and Boss Baby form unexpected relationships with their teammates. Turing begins to bond with Joan Clarke, played by Keira Knightley, while Boss Baby bonds with his brother Tim Templeton. As each of these two characters have faced social struggles throughout their life as a result of focusing too much on work rather than play, an interesting subplot is developed in each movie where the two characters learn the sincerity of human relationships.
Just as these two characters are absorbing their newfound hope in friendship and humanity, they are faced with the alluring shortcomings of humankind in the form of betrayal.
As the team works together day in and day out, relationships form and Turing begins to trust and form bonds with his colleagues. Just as his walls start to break and he achieves vulnerability with his new friends, one of them is discovered to be a Soviet spy. As devastating as this is to all the work they’ve accomplished, even more devastating to Turing is being lied to by a trusted friend.
Boss Baby deals with the same devastation as he faces betrayal from his long time idol, Francis E. Francis, voiced by Steve Buscerni. As described by Boss Baby early on in the film, Francis was the greatest CEO in the history of Baby Corp., and one day he disappeared without a trace. As Boss Baby and Tim are working together to infiltrate Puppy Co., they discover that Francis E. Francis is behind the whole scheme. Boss Baby is left devastated and confused by his longtime hero.
Despite the tragedy of these two events, Turing and Boss Baby continue to press on with their individual tasks. As before, they anchor down into their work and a silver lining seems afoot.
Turing spends months tackling the Enigma with mathematics and his incredible mind. Eventually, he is successful in breaking the code and deciphering the Nazi messages. Despite this success, it burdens Turing with more challenges and his logic seems to grapple with his emotions once faced with a difficult decision near the movie’s end.
Similarly, Boss Baby also hunkers down and succeeds in his takedown of Puppy Co. However, his success creates a new burden and, just as Turing had, by the end of the movie he must make a difficult decision that his logic and emotions disagree upon.
Realistically, the two of these movies should have nothing in common, and I’m sure most people who watch each wouldn’t recognize the similarities. “The Imitation Game” and “The Boss Baby” each include life lessons, geniuses, betrayal, hope, and an incredible all-star cast to portray each story. I hope I have made it evident that despite differences in time and age, relationships and people remain the same. Although it may be expressed in two opposing methods, children and adults alike relate and appreciate the same general content.