Monster Family review – hyperactive hotchpotch animation

A fine voice cast including Jason Isaacs, Nick Frost and Catherine Tate are the only saving grace for this cobbled-together Frankenstein of a film

Here’s a silly hyperactive monster animation that feels like it could’ve been scripted by a giddy six-year-old after lashings of jelly and ice-cream. (In this world Dracula straps on jet-packs and superhero latex to fly through the air. What’s wrong with bat wings?) The whole thing is exhausting, with too much slapstick, too few decent laughs and a care-y share-y message of family togetherness. It lacks even the tinge of darkness you’d expect from a movie about the stuff of bad dreams. The only treat is the voice cast of excellent British actors.

Frazzled Emma Wishbone (Emily Watson) is the owner of a failing New York bookshop and mum of two kids who can’t stand the sight of each other: stroppy teenager Fay (Jessica Brown Findlay) and know-it-all brainbox Max (Ethan Rouse). In a last-ditch attempt at spending quality time together, Emma makes costumes for a Halloween party, dragging along the kids and her husband, Frank (Nick Frost), who grunts, farts and contributes little else to family life.

Monster Family

Emma’s plan goes awry when she catches the eye of real-life Dracula (Jason Isaacs), a lantern-jawed George Clooney type who calls in a witch (Catherine Tate) to turn the Wishbones into monsters. Dracula’s dastardly plan is to make Emma his vampire bride. Her son is transformed into an adorable pint-sized werewolf, daughter Fay becomes a mummy with mouldy bandages, while husband Frank is turned into Frankenstein’s monster. Only if the Wishbones can find happiness can they return to human form.

This really is a Frankenstein film cobbled together from sharper, funnier movies, with so-so animation: Dracula’s trio of bat sidekicks look like ratty, underfed teddy bears. It’s probably best for little kids, and dads, you might want avoid. It’s not unreasonable to take offence at the depiction of fathers as great flatulent lumps of uselessness.

Contributor

Cath Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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