Animated films, wholesome fun media that is capable of telling the greatest stories and building the best worlds. In addition, they also cover a wide range of age groups, sometimes establishing an unfair expectation that they are meant for only that age group, sometime leading to misunderstandings and conflicts. This weekend, another animated film comes out, one with little advertising, but potentially delivering a tale that can stir on tears and cheers. Robbie K back with his final review of the weekend on a cute and cuddly film known as:
Film: Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero
Kid Friendly: An animated film that presents kid friendly has to in fact be kid friendly, and Sgt. Stubby reports for duty on this front. Its adorable mascot is not only the key advertisement component of the film, but a keystone in the cute factor of this movie. Stubby will pull your little ones in and keep them and the young at heart laughing. You may think that a movie about war can’t possibly be child friendly, but the editing and craft have been strongly turned up to filter out any scary aspects of war. Thus, if you’re looking to teach history and going for a family feel Stubby will help you out.
Good Pace: No worries about slow parts with this film, Sgt. Stubby and his platoon are able to present their story in record time, which is good for covering two years of a war, as the movie is presented below 90 minutes. Given all the child friendly antics and low run time, it’s like this studio was right on target for making a good kid’s film.
Decent Animation: Certainly not Pixar quality, but the Sgt. Stubby still is not too shabby in terms of quality of bringing the WW1 era to life. The canine of wonder is the best animated of the bunch, while the human soldiers are representative of something from the Clone Wars series. Decently smooth, and representative of the situations, but just not quite as dynamic or mind blowing as Disney’s megalith. In regards to design, again the developers have the cute motif down, but outside of that, not the most unique or diverse character development I have seen.
Helena Bonham Carter: Voice acting wise, the movie is decent with the three leads of course being the most impressive. However, it is the narrative provided by Bonham Carter that really holds the most emotional sway of the movie. Such heartfelt emotion in so few words, this leading lady more than helped set the cloud of emotions over each scene, establishing a different perspective that adds to the movie and expands the relatability of the events to more audience members.
The Emotion: Dog movies have a way of digging deep into your core and potentially depressing the heck out of you. Sgt. Stubby brings a mixed bag of emotions, at times lifting your spirits to new heights of love, happiness, and joy, while other times bringing you to near tears as man and man’s best friend face the beast of war. I myself nearly teared up several times at the sequences’ powerful display of powerful symphony work, visual developments, and of course Stubby’s human like composure to just about everything. You will certainly become invested in this movie on this component alone, with the cuteness being the icing on the cake.
Smoother Animation: A movie about an American hero certainly should be rewarded with more fluid animation. Again, this isn’t the worst (certainly better than I can draft), but it would have been nice to have them pull some work out like competing studios are capable of. The blocky movements and lack of intense action-animation scenes are what take away from some of the scenes for me, which could have been remedied.
More Impasses: For a war, Stubby’s journey seemed a little easy at times. Sgt. Stubby introduced a number of obstacles that gave them some challenge…for like five minutes, only to have the solution pop in mere seconds later. There were few close call moments and that lack of suspense made it difficult to remain on the edge of my seat. The cuteness is great, but from a storytelling element, this film failed on the emotional growth components.
Lack of Action: War, what is it good for? Usually a good number of action scenes, and some high-intensity stakes. However, the cute factor and kid friendly nature really dilutes the excitement of this movie, perhaps even to the point of making it less impressive at what he accomplished. Sgt. Stubby almost needed to be presented as a real-life form that could open up to more action, more intensity, and really bring Stubby’s achievements to full intensity. Perhaps then it would have roped in more people.
Sgt. Stubby is certainly the cutest adventure to come to the theaters this year, and the sheer emotional roller coaster is more than enough to get all ages worked up. Yet, this movie is really lacking that adventure magic, particularly the action, impasse, and structure to drive the growth of the characters. Young ones will certainly enjoy this movie, but given the elements that it needs improving on, the film is going to have a hard time making ends meet in the theater. This reviewer still thinks this movie is really stimulating, but it may be best reserved for home viewing to be honest.
My scores are:
Movie overall: 7.0