Featuring The Voices Of: Abby Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Olivia Coleman, Eric Andre, Beck Bennett, Fred Armisen,John Legend, Chrissy Teegin, Blake Griffin, and Conan O’Brien.
Directed By: Mike Rianda
Where I Watched it: Netflix
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
The plot: When it’s time for a young girl (Jacobsen) to leave the nest and go to college, her dad (McBride) has a hard time letting go, and decides to make her trip to her college a fun road trip for the whole family. Then an apocalypse led by AI (Coleman) turns their road trip into a hell scape.
What Works: It’s not that I feel like Netflix animation is subpar, but it can widely vary in content, and I often find myself not understanding the love for a specific film. Honestly, this past year, I loved Vivo, and apparently no one else did. So, I can enjoy a Netflix original.
That being said, this was my second viewing. Yet again, following my recent rewatch of The Power Of The Dog, I felt compelled to try something again because just so many people loved this film. Second time around? It didn’t get worse, that’s for sure. I think I appreciated the emotional weight this film has near the end, but I still just don’t quite understand the hype.
I know this is the positive section, so keeping things positive, I don’t hate this film. It is not a bad film. It does sell its emotional connection actually a lot better than Encanto which everyone seems to love. There’s a strong father/daughter bond that keeps this film moving forward, and it helps ground the film. The voice cast is OK, and some moments were kinda funny in a cute way.
What Doesn’t Work: I just don’t love this film. I’ve seen it twice, and I can’t imagine ever needing to watch it a third time. I just don’t know what else to say. It’s trying to do something, but then it needs huge leaps in logic to achieve its goals. Sometimes its funny, but with a cast like this, I expect more. I was disappointed Maya Rudolph felt like her mom was secondary to McBride’s father, because she’s so damn talented.
I don’t know what I would fix about the movie. Punch up the script? Probably. You hired some terrific voice actors, let them go nuts. And why is Olivia Coleman in BOTH of the films this year about technology going wrong? Anyone else notice that? This is definitely way better than Ron’s Gone Wrong, by the way.
The Blind Perspective: The audio description did let me know what was going on, but in a film that takes such an advanced science fiction approach, I would kind of appreciate more descriptive descriptions, if you know what I mean. I got the basic idea, and my brain creatively filled in the rest. I could look up a story about what kind of animation this is, maybe that would help, but I shouldn’t have to.
Final Thoughts: The second viewing didn’t move the needle for me. I know people love this, for me it is just OK. If I picked one Netflix animation from this past year, it would be Vivo. Not this.
Final Grade: C+