Disney seemed set to corner the market on animated films. Each new release seemed to be another classic. As the company became larger, they became a multimedia giant. It was no longer just about animation. It seems like Disney is set to conquer the world. There have always been other studios interested in animation. Disney’s increased scope has provided them an even wider range of opportunities. BRON Studios has an impressive resume that includes Joker, A Simple Favor, and Bombshell. Their latest release is a computer animated film.
The Willoughbys is a movie based on a children’s book by Lois Lowry. The story is about the children of the titular family. After years of neglect by their odd parents, they come up with a plan to change their lives. The four children decide they can take care of themselves. They come up with a plan to do just that. Along the way they learn about family.
The animation is interesting. Though it is computer animated, it has an old school charm. The movie has a stop motion look to it that helps it stand out from many recent releases. There are also many minimalist scenes that are little more than a still background. These are used perfectly. It will sneak up on many just how visually impressive the movie is.
Adding to the film’s understated beauty are some magnificent montages. In particular, is one where a vacation is being planned. There are also some neat “overhead” shots that give The Willoughbys a video game like look. The film is not content to just stick with one style. It is constantly throwing new things at the audience.
There is also great use of color. Most noticeable, are the rainbow imbued moments and the constant use of green. The early parts of The Willoughbys has a drab color tone that mirrors the mood of the situation. The movie does a gear job of using bright and dark colors the entire way. This brings a nice atmosphere that mirrors that story.
Much like any family friendly story, The Willoughbys is dependent on its characters. The movie is filled with an interesting cast. The children are entertaining and will immediately win the audience over. The parents are despicable and laugh out loud funny. The supporting cast rounds out the eclectic and interesting group. The family and their friends are reminiscent of a Roald Dahl or Tim Burton creation.
The story is fairly typical of the genre. It is filled with lessons learned and self imposed obstacles that have to be dealt with. Anyone who watches will have a general idea of where the plot is headed. It is just a matter of how will it get there. There are some nice twists along the way that help it stand out. It may hit some familiar beats, but the film never gets boring.
The Willoughbys is a fun family film. The animation is very impressive while the premise will keep adults and children entertained. On the surface, it seems like it is just another cartoon about learning the importance of family. The movie certainly has some familiar characteristics of the genre, but still manages to be original. In these times, a good movie about laughs and love is needed.
The Willoughbys comes to Netflix on April 22, 2020.
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