Spark: A Space Tail Jul 25, 2017 23:12:26 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jul 25, 2017 23:12:26 GMT -5
Spark: A Space Tail (2017)
Directed by: Aaron Woodley
Directed by: Aaron Woodley
One of the downsides to Pixar, Disney, and even DreamWorks Animation Studios all churning out a new breed of timeless, memorable animated films with quality and thematic relevance at the forefront is that it exposed the flaws and shortcomings on formerly acceptable films of the second-tier. I'm looking at the films of Don Bluth, Warner Bros. Animation, and various no-name companies that would get three or four minor hits thanks to the success of one film in particular (the modern day equivalent would be Blue Sky's longevity thanks to their Ice Age franchise). Twenty years ago, something like Spark: A Space Tail would've at least had the ability to spawn a line of toys and maybe even a direct-to-video line of sequels, and on that note, perhaps the obscurity for which it's destined is a good thing.
This is a miserably derivative, largely unenjoyable animated effort that, like most independent Christian films and schlocky horror movies, somehow had the good fortune of getting spat into a couple hundred theaters over a busy weekend in American film. It proceeded to complete its two-week run with paltry earnings before being released on DVD, Blu-Ray, and streaming outlets to serve its divine purpose as a kinetic, electronic babysitter for the easily amused children and their overtired parents.
Sorely lacking in originality, memorable characters, and an attractive color palette, three things you could argue are essential for an animated film in 2017, Spark revolves around the titular character (voiced by Jace Norman), an angsty thirteen-year-old monkey who lives on a planet mysteriously and inexplicably inhabited only by monkeys. Him and his friends Chunk (Rob deLeeuw) and Vix (Jessica Biel) spend their days harvesting junk on their garbage can of a planet, and one day, come across a strange device that belongs to Zhong (Alan C. Peterson), the planet's evil dictator. Determined to defeat Zhong and his empty plan to take over the planet in addition to a monster known as the "space kraken," Spark and company endure a series of goofy adventures that help Spark come to terms with his origins and his purpose.
Spark was made by Toonbox Entertainment, whose debut film The Nut Job, which will see a sequel this August, was a marginal hit for the company several years ago. To rebound with a picture this annoying and indistinct with a reportedly $40 million budget not even to crack $1 million at the domestic box office is legendarily lousy if its budget is true. I don't question film's budgets too often, but if Spark really did cost so much to make, I beg to see receipts on where it was spent. You undoubtedly had to cough up decent money to get the likes of Biel, Hillary Swank, and Susan Sarandon to provide voices, but this low-level animated film with a look and feel of the kind of film that would be made by a company as dubiously named as "Toonbox Entertainment" should not have cost so much money. Given its pathetically scant marketing and low-key release, all there's left to say is Spark: A Space Tail's crummy marketing efforts only compliment its overall quality as an animated film that a culture evidently sees as not even being good enough for a Sunday morning matinee.
Voiced by: Jace Norman, Jessica Biel, Alan C. Peterson, Hillary Swank, Susan Sarandon, and Rob deLeeuw. Directed by: Aaron Woodley.