How ‘The Bad Guys’ Used L.A.’s Cinematic History to Create an Animated Film Noir

One particular car chase sequence between the cops and the bad guys takes place at dusk. Attracted by the smoggy skies often portrayed in quintessential L.A. noirs, Desmarchelier wove that into his backdrop. “There’s a little bit of smog as the city lights up in orange,” he says. “You often see it in [film] cinematography; it’s intuitive when you think of night colors, and that design choice here worked beautifully to set off the electric blue [of night].”

Art director Floriane Marchix says watercolor-style backdrops depicting the city’s distinctive stucco bungalows and long staircases merged with 3D models and CG to inject vibrancy into the landscape and pay homage to Hanna- Barbera’s visual storytelling style.

While kids root for the animal heroes, observant adults will notice references to numerous caper movies such as “Ocean’s 11,” “Gone in Sixty Seconds” and even Brian De Palma’s “Femme Fatale,” in a scene set on a red-carpeted staircase that’s a dead ringer for Cannes’ Palais des Festivals.

Desmarchelier also riffed off other classics such as “Bullitt” and Hayao Miyazaki’s landmark anime film “The Castle of Cagliostro.” “There’s that confluence of East meets West,” he says. “It was about balancing it together. L.A was just the most appealing setting for this because I’ve been living here for many years.”