Now playing at Hoyts, Limelight and Palace cinemas in Canberra
89 minutes, rated PG (Mild themes)
This animated German-Luxembourg-Irish co-production (also known by the title Ooops! The Adventure Continues) is a sequel to the 2015 family film known in the UK and Ireland as Two by Two, and All Creatures Big and Small in the US.
It continues the Noah’s Ark theme of the original, this time with the colourful Nestrian and carnivorous Grymp family of stowaways on a creaky ark. With no land in sight, the one thing which keeps the carnivorous animals from eating the herbivores are communal meals of green slop – and food supplies are dwindling fast.
Salvation for the ark-dwellers appears to come in the form of a volcanic tropical island under which Nestrians have built a colony which is now threatened by the arrival of the carnivores.
The basic plot elements of adventurous but resourceful children overcoming adversity and becoming peacemakers are well trodden, and the characters depict positive attributes such as strong female leadership, cooperation, problem-solving, loyalty and teamwork.
What’s generally missing are the kind of jokes and visual humour in films like Sing which might go over the head of younger viewers but which keep parents and grandparents engaged. That said, there is a recurring slapstick joke in Two by Two Overboard! about an ill-fated dove sent from the ark to find land.
The main downside for me was the use of North American accents (though apparently some are Irish). While this may be driven by the commercial realities of global distribution, Europeans have a long and proud history of cinema, and it would have been refreshing to see, or rather hear, a bit less Hollywood in an animated family film.
Thanks to Miranda Brown Publicity for the opportunity to preview the film.