Arctic Justice (AU - G/UK - U/US -PG)

In a Word: Lightweight 

Arctic Justice2

Cold cast - some of the animal characters in Arctic Justice.

The animated talking animal film has generated some of the most successful films in history. With competition from the blockbusters such as Lion King, Finding Nemo, Madagascar and Zootopia in the market, how does this animated underdog compete?

Arctic Justice, known in some countries as Arctic Dogsfeatures some big name voices: Jeremy Renner plays Swifty, an Arctic Fox trying to prove he has what it takes to be top dog and impress the foxy and ingenious Jade (Heidi Klum). John Cleese turns in an amusing performance as the mad scientist, Otto Van Walrus, who is plotting to destroy the Arctic through global warming.

It is up to Swifty to solve the mystery of the rising temperatures and rally his allies that includes the introverted polar bear, PB, (Alec Baldwin), scatterbrained albatross, Lemmy (James Franco) and their stern caribou boss, Magda, (Angelica Huston), to save their Arctic home.

The big name cast attempts to mask the fact that the animation is substandard. Much of the story and characters are derivative, such as the henchmen puffins that are poor imitations of Despicable Me’s minions and the conspiracy theorist otters, reminiscent of the special operative penguins in Madagascar.

It is clear that the target audience is very young and Arctic Justice is aimed squarely at that demographic with its slapstick humour and simple themes. There is little attempt to appeal to an older generation, a feat that Pixar and Disney seem to have mastered. Ultimately Arctic Justice delivers an amusing diversion for the young and not so discerning audience.

There is a clear message of embracing who you are and accepting the gifts you have rather than striving to be something you’re not. This plays out as Swifty the fox tries hard to be noticed as a a big strong dog rather than accept his natural power to remain unseen. While there is validity in the theme of a healthy self-esteem, the poor execution of this well-meaning fable will leave viewers cold.

Correction: The reference to the film being also called Arctic Dogs has been moved to the second paragraph where it should have been placed. The error was made in  editing.