Film Review: Spark

Spark is a generic adventure that will appeal mostly to the youngest of viewers. The film is mildly entertaining, yet too unoriginal to be memorable.

Spark is a teenager living on a rubbish dump on a shard, after his home planet was destroyed by power-hungry General Zhong. As Zhong prepares to take over the universe, Spark and his friends are the only ones who can stop him…

Spark (also known as Spark: A Space Tail) trends a recognisable  path, as family-friendly adventures go. The film offers a familiar narrative, with predictable plot points. Director Aaron Woodley’s unique selling point with the film seems to be that the main characters are monkeys in space. However, most viewers will have seen anthropomorphic animals employed in a much more memorable fashion by the likes of Disney, DreamWorks, and others.

Characters in the film follow certain archetypes. Spark is the typical young hero in that he is eager but lacks knowledge. The protagonist is developed as the film progresses. Antagonist Zhong is over the top, but the hamminess works in a film such as this. Humour in the film does not always hit the mark. Some of the jokes are clearly aimed at young viewers, but even these don’t always generate laughs.

Perhaps the biggest drawback from Woodley’s film is the quality of the animation. It looks cheaply produced; the CGI backgrounds add little heart to the film. Notwithstanding, the cinematography is great at times. There is some decent movement (although this frenetic movement is used a little too often), and some well-composed shots. The film features a well-known voice cast, including Hilary Swank, Patrick Stewart, and Susan Sarandon. Stewart is the most memorable of these, yet none really benefit from the script.

The concept of monkeys in space evokes fun imagery, yet Spark fails to really ignite the imagination. Whilst it is by no means a torturous watch, the film is not a very exciting one either.

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