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Ensuring maximum exportability and minimum cultural specificity, this Icelandic-Belgian animated co-production unfurls in the wilds near a nameless, far-northerly town. Mostly the characters are plovers, migratory birds that herald spring in some cultures, with a scattering of other avian and mammalian creatures all voiced by a model UN’s worth of variously accented actors.
More literal-minded viewers (especially ones like my autistic son) may be puzzled as to why exactly a foodie fox and a nest of cheery, Italian-accented mice all communicate in English while the domestic cat we meet can only articulate in meows and growls. And should we be offended on someone’s behalf – as with Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, and its English-speaking canine cast and untranslated humans who speak mostly in Japanese?
It’s likely the makers weren’t very troubled by such inconsistencies and questions since such a slapdash air of will-this-do? carelessness permeates the film. Ploey (rhymes with Chloe, voiced by Jamie Oram), the protagonist, for instance, looks only vaguely like a plover and more resembles that old Warner Bros character Tweetie Pie. Stranded in a habitat where winter bites hard, after he fails to learn to fly and the rest of his flock leave him behind, Ploey must find a way to avoid being eaten by Shadow (Richard Cotton), the imperious, weirdly tall hawk that plays the major heavy here. Luckily Giron (Iain Stuart Robertson), a ptarmigan suffering from PTSD after his family were wiped out, offers some assistance for the hapless hero.
At the very least, kids will come out of this finally knowing how to pronounce the word “ptarmigan” but is that the best we can do in terms of summer film entertainment for younger viewers? Our kids deserve storytelling that has more wit, and animation with better design, but I suppose this will do at a pinch.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Flying the Nest review – slapdash animation has failure to launch | Animation in film