A Fun, Colourful Family Adventure
The Willougbys is a fun, colourful family adventure. It’s one of those perfectly enjoyable animated pictures that doesn’t really have that many flaws nor does it have anything particularly outstanding within its delivery. The story is witty and full of humorous set pieces making it an easy family feature to recommend, even if its plot line is a bit too predictable.
The story itself revolves around the Willoughby children who find themselves shunned by their horrible parents. After hatching a plan to send their family away on an extreme, dangerous family vacation, the children embark on a journey of discovery, learning the true meaning of family, love and acceptance along the way.
This journey sees them outwitting Orphan Services, enlisting the help of a cake-suit wearing sweet maker and even a witty cat narrator. All of this combines to make for a really imaginative ride that certainly makes the most of its colourful aesthetic.
Visually, The Willoughbys looks fantastic. The bright, vivid colours pop off the screen, the various special effects are beautifully illustrated and some of the editing is really impressive too. The various narration cutaways are a nice way to distinguish the different acts of the story, and with Ricky Gervais on narration duties, a suitable family-friendly version of his humour shines through.
The story does take a while to kick into gear though, with a slightly slow start that may have the smaller ones in the family itching for this to move along a little bit quicker. Despite this, the characters are good enough to move the narrative forward, even if there isn’t quite enough time given to building up the sibling relationships to make that inevitable climax as emotional as it could be.
Still, The Willoughbys is a really enjoyable animated family feature. The animation is beautiful and the story told with enough flair to keep things entertaining, despite the formulaic set pieces dotted along the way. While it’s not a particularly original plot, and you’ll likely guess the various twists and turns very early on, it’s a perfectly enjoyable film to watch as a family nonetheless.