Movie #134 2020: The Willoughbys (2020)

Adults with children who are stuck in lockdown, look no further.

Adults without children who are stuck in lockdown, look no further.

The chaps at Netflix are here to pass the time for you with an all-new animated feature that you can stream from the comfort of your own home. And even better: you don’t have to pay £15.99 for it!

The Willoughbys is a movie based on the book of the same name. It follows the Willoughby children on their quest to orphan themselves from their awful parents (who, as luck would have it, provide us with a bunch of laughs, courtesy of Jane Krakowski and Martin Short who voice them). Of course, nothing is as good as it seems, and the children take a bunch of challenges head on along the way.

Sadly, I’ve seen that the majority of reviews for this movie are bang average. I say ‘sadly’ because I believe it deserves more than that. It’s original, fun, and star-studded; Maya Rudolph and Terry Crews lend their hand to amp up the comedy. So why is it getting such mediocre feedback? Because it’s not Disney? Or Pixar? To be honest, I’m grateful for Netflix giving way to other studios for once. 

It’s always nice to see new styles of animation, and the animation in The Willoughbys is brilliant. There’s one particular sequence in which the family are running through the house with the nanny, and it has absurdly good cinematography on top of that too. It’s upsetting to know that so many people think that Disney and Pixar have the monopoly on animated movies, and it just seems to me that they’re not giving anything else a chance. For example, even though Studio Ghibli are extremely well-celebrated, you’d be hard pushed to find any Disney fanatic admit that their work is just as good (if not better, at times) as the global giant. It seems that this film will fall on deaf ears amongst that community too, which is sad.

In terms of plot, this felt really unpredictable to me. Unlike Disney, it doesn’t follow the regular road map of animated films, and I actually had no idea what was going to happen next. Obviously this is based on a book, and I’m willing to bet that it pretty much follows the same story line, but it is just so inventive and interesting. There’s one point in which a newborn baby casually arrives on The Willoughbys’ doorstep, and I simply loved the spontaneity of it all.

On the whole, it’s rather frustrating that many people will reduce this movie to a 2 or 3 star rating. It’s certainly better than average, and denying that would be an injustice to its creators. Within critics’ circles, it does have an 89 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which isn’t bad. However, online reviews gift this movie with an average of 3 stars way too often, which is frustrating because it’s clear that they just think itS noT PrEsTIGioUs EnoUgH to warrant any more. Lighten up and enjoy yourself mate.

Plus, it’s a way to keep the kids entertained in a way that you can enjoy too!

The Willoughbys is available to stream on Netflix UK.

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