Have ever seen a really elaborate, professionally set-up dominoes game? You touch one domino and it sets everything in motion – down ridges, around corners, up hills, in multiple streams, with so much happening simultaneously that it’s all too much for the eye to follow and the brain to comprehend. This movie is kind of like that. The animation style can best be described as “haphazard;” it’s sometimes crude, sometimes elaborate; it sometimes seems like the filmmakers are trying too hard. It’s both far from Pixar’s production value and close to the Pixar spirit. It remembers the child-like fun of playing make-believe because, like children at play, the storytellers are free-associating, going everywhere and anywhere that it seems like it might be fun to go.
There are superheroes in here and a wizard and a former President. There are parodies of characters in other movies and pricing in retail chains; the film mocks reality television, simplistic popular music (“Everything is Awesome”), the fascist mentality, and the warning labels on children’s games. It pokes fun at whatever seems to jump into the screenwriters’ heads – and then it pokes fun at what it’s poking fun at. It has major voice talent in tiny little roles and its “spirit character” is just so cheesy. But it just keeps moving. This is movie-making on Red Bull and if you’re not laughing out loud, often, then you’re clearly not having as much fun as the filmmakers are. Wake up. Try to pay attention to what’s going on. Want to be a kid again? Have I got a movie for you.