Released: 14th August
Seen: 8th September
In this, the year of impending doom and sadness, a lot of great animated films are either shunted off to the land of digital downloads or postponed until we feel like it’s safe to let a large number of children share an enclosed space again. Of course, this plague makes things like Netflix turn into a go to source for children’s entertainment which means that films like Fearless might seem like a great idea to entertain the small ones who are in desperate need for something to distract them but despite its bright colors and simplistic fart jokes, this film is not good enough to properly entertain your kids.
Fearless follows a gamer named Reid (Miles Robbins) who is obsessed over a video game that’s described as the most difficult game ever. After completing the second last level, a thing that no one on earth has done, the video game’s main character Captain Lightspeed (Jadakiss) learns his kids are missing. By a strange coincidence, those kids turn up in the real world in Reid’s backyard while he’s trying to do a science experiment with Melanie (Yara Shahidi). Now Reid and Melanie have to keep these kids safe from the evil Arcannis (Miguel J. Pimentel) who wants to steal the babies’ powers.
Let’s not mince words, Fearless looks more like the kind of animation that one might expect from a weekly TV series than a 90 minute feature. WIth very low quality animation that borders between average and stilted and backgrounds that alternate between highly detailed towns and stylized mountains, the visual style is a little all over the place. There’s no real visual difference between the ‘real world’ characters and the video game characters which makes it hard to tell them apart at first glance. You also end up noticing little things like the highly stylised hair on characters that doesn’t move an inch or how sometimes trees are highly detailed and some are just geometric shapes. It ends up creating a film that’s just dull to look at beyond a few bright colours.
The story itself is fine, a pair of kids having to look after three superhero babies while an evil villain chases them can be fun but we don’t really get that many adventures with the kids keeping the babies safe, and certainly not many good jokes with this setup. We instead get a lot of stock standard jokes like “Oh, baby poo smells bad” and “The baby is peeing with a disturbing level of aim”. The closest we get to an actually clever joke is discovering that the babies really seem to like Lionel Ritchie music which makes for a mildly amusing joke that doesn’t impact the story in any way. They don’t even have the thought to have the babies fight space aliens while Lionel Ritchie music plays, cos that would be interesting. We don’t really do interesting here, we do barely competent and hope that works.
Then there’s the little issues, like how pieces of the sets will be destroyed just for a joke only to be perfectly fine seconds later, or how it makes literally no sense how the characters went from the game to reality. Not even an explanation as simple as the one in Jumanji (AKA, Shutup it’s Magic!) is here and there’s no real suggestion that the characters can get back into the game. There’s no rationale or logic in any of this, not even any real internal logic. Things happen because it’s time for them to happen and that’s all you need because this film is made for kids and kids are dumb and don’t care about this kind of thing… right? I mean, that’s what the film certainly seems to think.
Look, maybe Fearless would be fine for real little kids who will giggle at the bright colours, broad slapstick and the regular burp and fart jokes but little kids deserve films that don’t treat them like idiots and this one definitely doesn’t seem to treat them as though they’re beings of any intelligence. At its best I can compliment the fact that it’s an animated film with a racially diverse cast, that’s genuinely great but maybe we could have this kind of cast with a better film for them to play around in.