Capture the Flag
Capture the Flag is unlikely to have any of its characters feature on the back of a cereal box. The film is unfortunately a low-quality unremarkable affair that will only be remembered, if at all, for its background and production story. It is, after all, intriguing to see the Spanish film industry put some heft behind giving the production an international (dubbed) release that will potentially offer an alternative to the likes of Pixar and DreamWorks. Yet, unlike animated successes from Japan’s Studio Ghibli or charming Oscar-nominated animations such as The Secret of Kells or Chico and Rita, there is no attempt to offer anything other than a dated and insufferably Americanised story, replete with numerous Big Macs and Sports Illustrated magazines.
The basic plot is testament to this cross-Atlantic gaze as we follow a schoolboy surfer, who comes from a family of astronauts, and his two friends getting themselves involved in a NASA mission to reclaim the moon from a ruthless tycoon, who plans to use its resources to gain the largest energy monopoly in human history. Along the way there are generational reconciliations and multiple action set-pieces involving surfing through alligator-infested waters and a moon buggy escape from Carson’s robotic spiders.
In fact, the second half of the film is a passable space adventure with the realisation of the rockets and all the astronaut equipment being solidly rendered visually. Whilst the visual elements are serviceable throughout, the characters are completely handicapped by toe-curling dialogue, with the effortless wit of many of today’s mainstream animated films sorely missed. Particularly egregious is the interplay between the three main children with their vocabulary seemingly coming from a 1990s video game, with the nerdy member of the trio being the worst offender as he “hilariously” straps his poor pet lizard to various homemade rockets.
In the past it would have been understandable to suggest that some decently animated spaceships and an inoffensive message were good enough for an audience of children, but in the wake of a slew of inventive and challenging additions to this genre within the last decade (notably The Lego Movie) and even the last year (Inside Out), the bland storytelling and cringe-inducing dialogue of Capture The Flag no longer meet the passing grade.
Capture the Flag is released nationwide on 29th January 2016.
Watch the trailer for Capture the Flag here: