Absolute genius (though maybe not for the young ones)
I'm just gonna say it right now. This is one of the most brilliant films I have ever seen. This movie is chocked full of wit and charm and great writing. Every joke lands perfectly. But on top of that, the story and characters are great. The heart of the film comes from the relationship between its three leads and it is handled perfectly. I'm even gonna go so far as to say this might be my favorite Laika Pictures film. It feels weird saying that, too, as this is a pretty big departure from what they usually produce. Whereas their four previous films (Coraline, Paranorman, Boxtrolls and Kubo and the Two Strings. Felt like I had to point that out since only one of these actually succeeded at the box office) centered around kids in a dark environment, this film is centered around adults in an environment that, while scary in places, isn't quite as dark as what we're used to. But even so, it still lends its way to some genuine tension. The final climax to this film is one of the most intense I have ever seen, though the major standout moment for me is a scene that takes place on a ship. I won't spoil anything, but this sequence contains one of the most visually creative moments I have ever seen in film. On top of that, this movie also contains one of my favorite lines to come from a comedy. I won't spoil what it is, but it comes up near the end and it's so on the nose, it's kind of beautiful. All in all, I strongly recommend this one, and I really hope this becomes Laika's second successful film. It would be a tragedy to see this go down the same road as Boxtrolls and Kubo, you know, only really getting attention after its best animated feature nomination. (Well, okay, Paranorman did perform alright, though if what I've heard is correct, a film has to make at least twice its budget worldwide to be considered a success)
Though okay, if there's one thing I agree with the naysayers on, it's that no, I don't completely recommend this for young kids. And to be fair, I don't think this was intended for a young crowd. Keep in mind that film directors generally have no say in how their films are advertised. Even though the marketing may imply a young target demographic, that doesn't necessarily mean there was a young target demographic in mind. Ever wonder why most trailers for animated films are super misleading and often make them look dumber than they actually are? Because marketing teams don't respect kids and parents enough to trust them to see a film that's marketed as intelligent. And it saddens me to see reviews on this site that, well, kinda prove them right. I'd personally recommend this for an older crowd, but even then, there's nothing wrong with showing kids smart and mature writing every now and then granted you know what you're getting yourself into. Either way, I do kind of understand the frustration from the two reviewers before me, but don't blame the film makers. Blame the marketing team. The film makers had nothing to do with those marketing strategies.
This title contains:
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking