On a whim from my girl I watched this peculiar children’s flick, I immediately came to realise this is the noughties Labyrinth. For those not old enough to have watched Labyrinth as a child then imagine only ever having watched animation or live actions films. Nothing in between or computer generated. Then think what it would be like to have all manner of creatures interacting in a real way with actors, okay they were muppets from Jim Henson but it was amazing to see something so different to what you are used to.
That is how it felt to watch this film, they didn’t try to make the digital characters look completely realistic, nor did they try to make them look cartoon like they have in so many films by Pixar (Toy Story for example) they simply styled them in a beautiful and unique way that sets this film apart from so many other CG animations.
Enough about its differences, was it good? Crikey it was, even for a children’s plot as an adult I was gripped, you weren’t quite sure what was going to happen next and they didn’t make a point of struggling with easy problems in the film, it was performed as you’d expect people (with a little know how) would do. This was carried remarkably by the male protagonist Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) whom most of the live action sequences focused, accompanying him are some marvellous vocals from Robert de Niro, Madonna, Emilo Estevez and Jimmy Fallon.
There are those that have criticise the film for mimicking certain fairytales* but so many other films re-tell those all important and ancient fairytales and myths so I don’t think its fair to point at this one when so many others have done it, I think the contrary it adds to the reverence of the film.
The plot without revelling to much follows the line along this; a young boy, resourceful and obsessed with his grandfathers inventions and trinkets from his expeditions in Africa sets out to save this family’s farm from debt collectors by finding both the treasure in their backyard and his grandfather along the way. Luckily he has help….
There are rumours of 2 sequels in 2009 and 2010 but unfortunately I won’t have any kids as an excuse to go to the cinema so I might have to wait for the DVD releases.
In my opinion this film should gather a fan base in the future akin to Labyrinth or perhaps Tron, but only time will tell on this one. Give it a watch, its entertaining for adults and children alike.