Flying the Nest
When a young plover chick who hasn’t learned to fly gets left behind after his flock migrate for the winter, Árni Ásgeirsson’s Flying the Nest follows the youngster as he travels to the idyllic Paradise Valley in order to survive the brutal season. On his way, Ploey (James Oram) will meet some new friends, but must also evade just as many enemies and perils. A largely by-the-numbers animated adventure, there are some interesting ideas scattered throughout the feature, but unfortunately, the predictable and often lazy writing stops this beautifully crafted film from flying high.
One of the most striking aspects of the movie is just how staggeringly good the animation is. Character models are rendered in great detail – you can practically count each individual feather – whilst maintaining a highly expressive cartoony aesthetic that never becomes too distracting. The biggest triumph here are the backgrounds. Sprawling vistas are brought to life with an almost photorealistic accuracy; foliage is lush and vibrant, snow reacts to characters in realistic ways and beautiful lighting makes for some truly breathtaking moments.
That is, however, the extent of this work’s success. The writing, voice acting and everything else in between are unable to live up to the standards set by the visuals, the screenplay, in particular, being what holds it back the most. Alongside sticking to a predictable narrative and filling the cast with forgettable, bland – and questionably stereotypical – characters with names like Mousy the mouse and Swan the swan, the biggest issue is that there’s nothing of value accomplished within the short runtime. What makes this worse is that interesting factors are introduced only to be immediately ignored, such as comments on immigration and a mysterious plot point surrounding the main antagonist (Richard Cotton). All that’s there is a relatively inoffensive and visually stunning distraction.
Similarly, the voice performances are lacking. While undoubtedly doing his best, young Oram is unable to lend his character the emotional depth needed to carry the picture, and the others don’t do much better.
In short, Flying the Nest is a feature that has far better animation than it deserves. While attempts are made to develop the movie’s simplistic plot, its forgettable, band delivery prohibits the film from soaring.
Flying the Nest is released in select cinemas on 6th July 2018.
Watch the trailer for Flying the Nest here: