Now available digitally is a brand new magical comedy from Lionsgate called Animal Crackers. The star-studded cast includes John Krasinski (TV’s “The Office”), Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place franchise), Danny DeVito (Batman Returns), Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings franchise), and Sylvester Stallone (Rocky franchise).
When Owen (John Krasinski) and his family inherit his uncle Bob’s rundown circus, it seems more like a curse than a gift. But it becomes an entryway to magical adventure when Owen is presented with a mysterious box of animal crackers — with the power to transform the bearer into any animal in the box! It looks like the circus will be a success, until Bob’s villainous brother (Sir Ian McKellen) learns about the box…and he will stop at nothing to get it!
I received the chance to review the movie and here is what I thought.
One sentence that best describes this movie is: It is a film of stereotypical characters, cliché story lines, and sexualized comedy that ends with a predictive climax. This doesn’t mean that it is a horrible movie, in fact, many parts of it are fun to watch and the magical part of the story is cute. I mean who doesn’t want to magically transform into an animal? I do want to state, however, that while the storyline seems perfect for a young audience, what with animal crackers transforming people into animals, the actual adaptation is more for 8-10 year olds. There are comedic scenes of boobs, butts, and even scenes with unwelcomed kisses and advances. Many of these will come across as hilarious, while some will be cringe worthy.
The first few minutes of the movie features the Huntington brothers circus with fun music, acrobats, clowns, and more. Horatio is an egotistical stereotypical brother and Bob is the stereotypical meek brother. The pair seem to work well together and bring in a substantial audience. When Talia, the love interest, is introduced, Horatio desires her because she is beautiful. However, Talia falls in love with Bob, much to Horatio’s dismay. This, of course, places a strain on the brothers relationship causing Horatio to give his brother the ultimatum, either she goes or I go. Bob chooses Talia, kicking his brother out of the circus.
After Talia and Bob are married, Esmerelda, the gypsy and aunt of Talia, pulls a box out from between her boobs and gives it to the married couple. It is a box filled with animal crackers, which, when eaten, the person becomes the animal they ate. It causes the circus to soar in success for 30 years. People love watching animals do tricks, walk the rope, and much more. Even Bob’s nephew, Owen, loves the circus, meats a girl named Zoe, and eventually marries her, continuing the family pattern.
This brings us to present day. Bob and Talia are gone after a fire, Horatio is trying to get his hands on the animal crackers, and Bob leaves Owen the circus in his will. I think we can all see where this is going at this point. Zoe works to recreate the circus, Owen finds his love for the circus once again, Horatio succeeds in stealing the animal crackers and then fails horribly, and we learn about a strange twist that really wasn’t a twist if you give the movie at least 10% of your attention.
I did enjoy the mostly happy ending with the circus becoming a magical place for more than just the performers. I do wish Raven Symone’s character, Binkley, would have solved the transforming problem for Talia and Bob. Binkley was featured enough that, I think, her magical breakthrough would have brought the story to a perfect close with everyone on stage celebrating life and fun. I also really enjoyed the digital art. It was colorful and fun with fine details for hair, smoke transformations, and more. Even the clothes showcase textures, shadows, and reflections. Color me impressed.
I do think the story and comedy needs some work. I don’t think the art of the movie matches the age group that this film is geared towards. By looking at the digital art, one would think 6 years of age would be fine, but I would say the comedy is geared towards more of the 8-10 year old range. On Common Sense Media, parents believe it is more for 10+. With the dissociation between art, story, and comedy, I give the movie 3 out of 5 stars.
While this is my opinion of the film, yours may be different. I have seen some positive reviews where they find the story fun, whimsical, and a great family movie. If you want a copy for your digital collection, we are hosting a giveaway for a Digital Code of Animal Crackers. Use the form below to tweet, comment, and follow to enter the giveaway. Many will enter, only one will win!