Calling this a fractured fairy tale is being kind and does a disservice to the reference. Despite how many fun moments it has (and it does) and how inventive it is at times (and it is), the story is a complete mess without a focus and with an unclear audience. But whatever that audience is, it isn’t really young kids. The story is too dark and mean for really young kids. At least to my mind.
The thing is Scott Christian Sava adapted his own graphic novel for this movie and co-directed it as well. But he wasn’t urged to edit the story down. It’s a full 7 minutes before we’re even given the title of the film and another huge chunk of time before the main plot really gets going. In a movie for adults that’s sometimes OK, but for kids, it’s challenging. However, even once it gets going, it flounders amid several plot lines. They do all come together eventually, but not all were necessary.
I will admit they got a range of great voice talent to bring it all to life. With Ian McKellen (The Good Liar) and his cronies, including Gilbert Gottfried and some of Sava’s family, arrayed against our main characters, there is a lot of fun to be had. And power couple John Krasinski (A Quiet Place) and Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns) work great together, and can even boast the ubiquitous Tara Strong as their on-screen daughter.
But it doesn’t end there. Smaller roles abound. Danny Devito (Jumanji: The Next Chapter), Harvey Fierstein, Wallace Shawn (Admission), Patrick Warburton (Ted 2), Raven-Symoné, and even Sylvester Stallone (Creed II) all bring their talents to bear. Mind you, some are a little out of control, but that’s as much the story’s fault as it is the director’s and actor’s at times.
This isn’t a wasted part of your day or evening, but it isn’t what it could have been. Animal Crackers had a torturous path to screen…it sat in the can for ages, lost its distribution, and ultimately got rescued by Netflix. I had hoped for something a little more crafted, but it was entertaining enough as a distraction and clever enough to keep me intrigued. I just wish someone with more will had helped shape it and focus it to make it a better movie.