UK Release Date: 1st May 2015
Runtime: 87 minutes
Director: Toby Genkel, Sean McCormack
Writer: Richie Conroy, Toby Genkel, Mark Hodkinson, Marteinn Thorisson
Starring: Chris Evans, Callum Maloney, Dermot Magennis, Ava Connolly, Tara Flynn, Alan Stanford
Synopsis: When the Biblical flood begins, two unusual animals must find a way to get aboard the Ark before it’s too late.
Two By Two is a bizarre film. It’s a German animation, redubbed into English that tells the story of a series of made-up animals and their attempts to get aboard Noah’s Ark before the Biblical flood submerges their home. On top of all that, it stars Chris Evans in a voice role. Nope, not that one. The ginger guy.
Dave (Dermot Magennis) and his son Finny (Callum Maloney) are Nestrians – brightly-coloured animals who love to run away. When the lion who leads the animals (Alan Stanford) announces that a Biblical flood is coming, animals must apply for a spot on the Ark. When the Nestrians are refused entry, they disguise themselves as part of the family of Hazel (Tara Flynn) and Leah (Ava Connolly) – a pair of cat-like Grymps.
Much like last year’s Spanish animation The Unbeatables, the transfer to the English language really hurts Two By Two. As the dialogue lands with the thud and the story plods along, there’s always the sense that something crucial has been lost in translation.
| “Our kids are out there and we’re locked up in here.”
It doesn’t help that the vocal performances are exceptionally grating. None of the cast members have any more range than the standard children’s television programme voices. Given the hour and a half of unfunny jokes and achingly predictable plotting, the least we could’ve asked for is a voice cast that didn’t make us want to claw our ears out.
In fact, the infuriating vocal work is the least of Two By Tw0’s problems. The central characters are paper-thin and there’s a distinct lack of originality on show. With Pixar’s Inside Out only a few weeks away, it’s disheartening to see a children’s animation that cleaves so closely to the comfort blanket of narrative convention at the expense of intelligence.
This is the kind of kids’ film that invites adults to check out at the door. There’re no jokes that will appeal to anyone aged older then four and even the ones that are there rely largely on puns and funny voices. By the time the climax, which should be heartfelt, kicks in, Two By Two has proven just how long 87 minutes can feel.
| “Somebody needs a hug.”
Perhaps there was some merit to Two By Two in its original German form. As a film in the English language, though, it’s a bland animation devoid of heart, humour and intelligence. I’d probably take the flood to be honest.
Pop or Poop?
It may have been lost in translation, but Two By Two has the air of a film that has no idea why it was made.
The voice acting is poor, the plot creaks with conventionality and there are so few jokes that even Ricky Gervais would take issue.
Not even worth a trip for the sake of the kids.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.