Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang is a healthy dose of family fun, which, while mildly ridiculous and a little bit rushed, is still decently entertaining.
The film follows unruly brothers Zip and Zap as they are sent away to a strict summer boarding school, run by the devious Falconetti. They initially form the Marble Gang with their friends to pull pranks on Falconetti and the teachers, who have banned toys and playtime from the school. However, they soon discover that there is treasure hidden somewhere in the grounds and must ultimately race against the headmaster to find it.
The movie owes a very great deal to The Goonies and other such children’s adventure comedies of the 80s. Unfortunately, having this strong resemblance to such a classic acts against Zip and Zap because (as we can hardly expect it to) it does not quite measure up in comparison. For example, several of the ancillary characters serve no purpose other than comic relief; though, a children’s movie can probably be forgiven for seeing comic relief as justification enough for a few characters here and there.
The script admirably tries to foster empathy for all of its characters, and it does not present any one as entirely flawed or flawless, with the exception of the dreaded Falconetti. Those who begin the film as antagonists see the light by the end, or are shown to at least care deeply for the welfare of animals in lieu of children.
Nowhere is this more successful than in the two title characters, who both wrong each other deeply during the course of the film, but find empathy and forgiveness for each other by the end, without dragging the movie into hokey or sentimental waters. However, in the case of some of the more minor characters, their newfound humanity isn’t explored or given any kind of purpose within the narrative. This, coupled with the fact that the issue of the adolescent love triangle is left unresolved, gives the film a rushed quality; while this is not something that younger audience members will likely mind, those who chaperone them might be left unsatisfied.
Equally however, Zip and Zap is sure to entertain older audience members as well. The lead actors skillfully embody their characters, and the dialogue is often snappy, clever, and genuinely funny. In that regard, Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang will be fun viewing for both kids and adults alike.
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang is released nationwide on 31st March 2017.
Watch the trailer for Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang here: