Capture the Flag
- Emma Simmonds
- 26 January 2016
Uninspired animation that sees a group of kids get involved in a space race
As the whip-smart Inside Out so unforgettably illustrated, kids’ films don’t have to be simplistic to succeed. Despite its high-octane action sequences and outer space shenanigans, animated adventure Capture the Flag leans back on a thoroughly traditional narrative, demonstrating a reluctance to challenge young minds, or even to entertain them beyond the blooming obvious. The story is hastily unpacked but the moral message is belaboured, as our interfering protagonist attempts to mend fences in his fractured brood, teaching his elders that, ‘Family is the most important thing there is.’
This Spanish production from Enrique Gato (Tad, the Lost Explorer) has been repurposed for a US / UK audience, yet since it was actually animated to fit English dialogue the transition is hardly jarring. It introduces us to young Mike Goldwing who comes from two generations of American astronauts, both thwarted in their desire to walk on the moon, who have been kept apart by a mysterious feud. When the villainous energy magnate Richard Carson calls into question the validity of the original moon landing, the space race is back on – with NASA this time facing-off against a rogue businessman determined to rewrite history and plant himself on the satellite in question, forcing the revered institution to restore their reputation by sending their own team along to secure the flag left there in 1969. The story manages to shoehorn Mike and his pals into the heart of the action.
In the age of Donald Trump et al, the ostentatiously egotistical bad guy who pits himself against the establishment and who is willing to besmirch American achievements in pursuit of a personal agenda feels far from preposterous. The film’s CG animation intermittently impresses, particularly when it comes to the lunar landscapes, but the character design is generic, cheapening the entire enterprise. Lacking in laughs, fresh ideas or charm and with an obnoxious soundtrack to boot, for some Capture the Flag will just about scrape by on its honourable intentions and brisk delivery; however, what seems on paper like a vaguely educational distraction, is merely another exercise in colourful chaos.
General release from Fri 29 Jan.