Mike Goldwing, a plucky, determined 12-year old boy, is the son and grandson of NASA astronauts. His grandfather Frank, a once revered, but now forgotten retired astronaut, lives his days isolated from his family after missing out on his big chance to fly to the moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as a part of the Apollo XI mission. When an eccentric billionaire sets an evil plan to fly to the moon, steal the moon's vast mineral resources, and destroy the American flag planted by the Apollo XI team, Mike embarks on a magnificent adventure as a stowaway on the space shuttle. Accompanied by his grandfather, best friends Amy and Marty, and a clever chameleon, Mike blasts off to the moon to capture the flag and reunite his family.
For every Inside Out there are a hundred Capture the Flag's. Considering the absurd amount of time and effort an animation feature takes to produce it's surprising that so often such little effort is made with the script and character development. Where animation masterminds Pixar really excel, putting technology aside for one moment, is how perfectly they make you connect with their characters, and this is no more obvious than when you watch a film where this simply doesn't happen. Home failed miserably with a great cast simply because all of the characters were so utterly annoying, Big Hero 6 an example of the contrary. The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 are both out in the next few years and people (adults and children) care, and there's a reason for that.
A great commercial animation should be judged on its ability to fascinate the kids, gratify the parents yet produce something that is more than a kids film which gratifies the parents; a movie that stands on its own as an objective piece of work, not something that qualifies as a two hour cheapo Saturday morning outing for dads. Capture the Flag is a perfect example of the type of tripe that will saturate the throwaway Sunday one pound a seat mini-mornings across the UK multiplexes for months to come.
The film focuses on the Goldwing family; grandad Frank who missed out on his one chance to land on the moon, his son Scott, a potential astronaut on the ever pushed-back NASA missions and Mike, the youngster trying to reconcile his dad and grandad who haven't spoken for years for reasons initially unknown. A naughty billionaire, Richard Carson, attempts to discredit the initial moon landings as a diversion to his plans to mine Helium-3 from the satellite as an endeavour at super-villainy world energy control, and thus it quickly becomes super villain versus the Goldwings. There is potential for some good story lines here yet the film concentrates purely on silly action sequences and the child action- buck rather than anything remotely interesting.
The film does try and engage its older audience at times, specifically with a clip of the not-dead Stanley Kubrick, working for Carson, directing a faked moon landing, but that's about it. The storyline is disjointed and rushed, and at no point feels like one you care about the outcome of.
The other annoyance is that some of the main characters are so visually similar to characters from other films; Carson is almost identical in mannerisms and looks to Syndrome from the Incredibles, Frank Goldwing is basically Professor Callaghan from Big Hero 6 and Mike Goldwing's young sister is a lazily recreated version of Boo from Monsters Inc. It may seem fastidious to point out such similarities but it enhances the feeling of indolent character development that is such a persistent irritation throughout.
Sometimes it feels harsh critiquing a film that is so obviously a throwaway movie directed at keeping kids vaguely amused for ninety minutes, but for all that Capture the Flag is a dull incidental movie that no-one will ever remotely remember.
12 of 26 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this