We were recently invited to a film preview of the new animation movie Spark: A Space Tail. Directed and co-written by Aaron Wooley, it tells the story of a teenage chimp (with a tail) called Spark and is set in outer space. Spark was born on the planet Bana (banana without the last ‘na’). Son of the ruler of Bana, the planet was partially destroyed when he was a baby by his dad’s brother Zhong. Zhong is a strange little (short) character that seems to channel Napoleon in his styling. Zhong has a sidekick/guard called Koko, more of which in a moment.
Anyway, Zhong destroyed his brother’s kingdom, and for the last 13 years Spark has grown up on a garbage shard along with two friends Vix and Chunk. There’s also a robot grandma called Bananny (nanny with a ‘ba’ in front of it). This character SO reminded me of Wall-e. In fact, the funniest line in the whole film was said by her: “Let’s go and kick some As-teroids!” 🙂
Vix and Chunk have a space craft which they use to collect useful junk. Now that Spark is 13 he wants to go too – and when he’s told no, he has a long teenage strop. Ultimately he ‘steals’ the space craft and goes off on his own in it. He flies down to Bana, ends up being spotted and chased by Zhong’s guards. He is saved and hidden by the Queen of Bana who hands him an egg-like capsule asking him to look after it as it’s part of Zhong’s plan to find, destroy and take over another planet.
Whizzing through the plot he ends up being sucked into a black hole that puts him on a desert shard and he finds some ex-guards living there. Spark discovers that he is actually heir to Bana and the current Queen of Bana is his mum! So he sets about taking on Zhong to reclaim his planet – which he does. And they all live happily ever after.
So that’s the story: but what did we think of it? Well the kids said they liked it. Millie-Mae thought it was a bit lacking on action, but Toby liked the ‘flying motorbike’ scenes (reminding him of Star Wars – will work well in 3D). What we all agreed on was the ridiculousness of Zhong’s guard side-kick Koko. Koko was clearly male with deep voice, yet behaved and dressed as a female with ponytails and ribbons in her hair and regularly topping up her makeup. A little bit ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’! The character just didn’t have any point. Whenever Koko appeared you just kept wondering why. Not a funny character, so simply became a confusion and distraction when a ‘typical’ guard would have fit the role better.
The film attracted some high profile narrators: Jessica Biel (Vix); Susan Sarandon (Bananny); Hilary Swank (the Queen); and Patrick Stewart (the Captain).
Would I watch it again? Probably not.
Would the kids? Probably yes.
Who will like it? Younger children I’d say.
What’s it most like? Well, think Star Wars, Wall-e and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, mix it all up and add a simple story!
Is it the next big blockbuster animation? Unfortunately, I don’t think it is.
Don’t take my word for it though – give it a chance and I’d love to know what you think.
Disclaimer for Review of Spark: A Space Tail
We were invited to a screening in return for an honest review.