Director Leopoldo Aguilar’s Monster Island is a fiendishly fun affair that bigger kids and many adults will enjoy sinking their teeth into. Unlike Monsters, Inc, however, it’s too scary for the very little ones, with a couple of surprisingly dark plot threads (mums, dads, guardians… you have been warned).
The wonderfully menacing opening credits showcase an animated fantasy world that Tim Burton would be proud of. Indeed, from chattering flying skulls to lumbering tree elephants and a bumbling, pumpkin-headed cop, the creature design throughout the film is superb.
But it’s our universe that the film kicks off in, with newbie teenager Lucas attempting to persuade his single parent dad to let him go to the cool kids party. Dad says no, Lucas goes anyway, gets humiliated in front of the entire school and then transforms into a hulking, clawed monster. Puberty metaphor? Very much so… Lucas’ voice even deepens when he gets his freak on.
As it transpires, Lucas’ beastly tendencies are a family trait: his dad is a monster too but has been suppressing their true nature with the help of a potent concoction whipped up in the garage. If Lucas wants to find out who he really is, he must travel to Monster Island, where all creatures great and small dwell – including his really evil uncle (the source of the film’s scarier moments).
At just 77 minutes, the story rockets along, and while neither the animation nor the script are anywhere near as sophisticated as the best work of Pixar or DreamWorks Animation, it’s all still spookily entertaining. And there’s a great Carrie homage for the older members of the audience, too.
Written By: Kate Lloyd
Release: Out Now
From: Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Format: DVD & Digital Download
Age Rating: PG