UK Release Date: 9th February 2018
Runtime: 85 minutes
Director: Enrique Gato, David Alonso
Writer: Jordi Gasull, Neil Landau, Javier López Barreira
Starring: Trevor White, Alex Kelly, Ramon Tikaram, Joseph Balderrama, Gemma Whelan, Lewis Macleod
Synopsis: An explorer and his more successful girlfriend must embark on a dangerous quest to unearth a series of mystical artefacts before an evildoer.
You’d be forgiven for being rather confused in the opening minutes of Tad the Lost Explorer and the Secret of King Midas. It immediately throws you into a world without very much explanation and, quickly, it becomes apparent that this is a sequel. Indeed, the movie is a follow-up to a Spanish animation from 2012 that seemingly made its way to the UK DVD market in 2014, having never managed a cinema release. It presumably did quite well because this sequel, almost four years later, has mustered up enough cash to pop into multiplexes. Given the current strength of the animation world, this one probably should have stayed on supermarket shelves.
The title character (Trevor White) is working on a building site when he gets a call from his girlfriend Sara (Alex Kelly), who has a big event coming up. After a chance meeting with a funny-voiced mummy (Joseph Balderrama), who was presumably in the first movie, Tad makes the journey out there and, after an attack by villain Rackham (Ramon Tikaram), he joins Sara on a quest to prevent him from attaining unimaginable power.
In the world of Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks all doing great work, alongside the upstart success of Illumination Entertainment, it’s always weird to experience one of these strange, European animations. Like the uninteresting Noah’s Ark caper Two By Two and the foosball-inspired The Unbeatables in recent years, Tad has the feel of a market stall knock-off with every frame. Everything about the movie is functional and mediocre, but in a way that makes it genuinely tough to sit through.
It’s a chore of lame slapstick and puns that seem to have been lost in translation. The worst of this is handed to the mummy, who exists only to randomly appear in the corner of scenes with no explanation at all for his presence. Everything else, though, is just as leaden and uninspiring as that, from the straightforward narrative construction and identikit villain to the paint-by-numbers beats of the central romance plot.
Pop or Poop?
The colourful chaos of Tad the Lost Explorer and the Secret of King Midas is really an example of a movie that is strictly just for the kids. It’s all about basic slapstick and a blindingly obvious adventure plot that sticks like glue to the most straightforward of narrative structures.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.