Film: “Robinson Crusoe”; Directors: Vincent Kesteloot and Ben Stassen; Voiceovers by: Yuri Lowenthal, David Howard, Laila Berzins, Joey Camen, Sandy Fox, Colin Metzger, Marieve Herington, Jeff Doucette and Debi Tinsley; Rating: **
This 3D animated film, loosely based on Daniel Defoe’s 18th century classic, is an unfortunate attempt to make it a fable of our times.
It is unfortunate, first of all, because it is not an adventure or survival story and secondly, because, narrated from the point of view of the island’s animals, it seems like an analogy of the immigrant refugee crisis in Europe.
Narrated in a non-linear manner, the film begins aboard a pirate ship, where a parrot named Tuesday aka Mak (David Howard) begins recounting the story of how he became the trusted lackey of Crusoe (Yuri Lowenthal).
He reveals how Crusoe and his dog Aynsley (Doug Stone) followed by two vicious cats (Debi Tinsley and Jeff Doucette) became marooned on a lush green tropical island which was inhabited by him and his gang of quirky friends who include Rosie – The Tapir (Laila Berzins), Scrubby (Joey Camen), Carmello – The Chameleon (Colin Merzger), Kiki – The Humming bird (Marieve Herington), The Porcupine and the Nanny Goat.
As days pass, both Crusoe and the parrot want to be rescued, but for different reasons. Tuesday wants “to see the outside world”, and Crusoe just wants to go home. And while they are staying on the island, they also have to battle the vicious creepy, mangy cats, who makes life miserable for them.
The script, written by Lee Christopher, Domonic Paris and Graham Weldon, lacks gravitas on the structural level. How the duo — Crusoe and Tuesday — land on the pirate ship is not explained. The gags, the one-liners and the goofy antics are much too tepid for all, but the smallest and least discriminating children. Also, the tale feels abrupt and incomplete.
Technically, the anthropomorphized animation is spectacular with all animals faithfully created, looking appealing and truly alive. Also, each frame is visually colourful. But this is all what has been seen before. This one has nothing extraordinary to offer.
The action sequences are crisp, relevant and exciting to watch especially in the big finale where Crusoe and his gang give the feline antagonists the chase.
The voices of the ace cast are perfect and every actor and character is well-matched.
Composer Ramin Djawadi’s background score is standard and it does elevate the viewing experience.
Overall, the result may not be a tad insipid yet it may appeal to some.