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Two by Two: Overboard

Peter Malone MSC  |  30 March 2021

TWO BY TWO: OVERBOARD, Children’s animation adventure. Luxembourg/Ireland, Voices of: Max Carolan, Dermot Magennis, Ava Connolly, Tara Flynn, Mary Murray, Brendan McDonald, Carly Kane. Directed by Toby Genkel, Sean McCormack. Rated PG (Mild themes)

Filmmakers who specialise in animation entertainment for younger audiences know that there is a range in the target demographics. There is a particular demographic for the littlies audience, particularly for television shows to occupy/entertain/educate them in the mornings or the afternoons, their special times and channels.

And, there are the feature films especially aimed at that audience for a special outing with parents or grandparents. This is one of those films.

It is a great pity that we do not have reviews from the littlies, how they responded to the film, how they enjoyed it. They would be quite different from the reviews written by the adults, the media film critics, who seem to write their reviews as if the children’s animation tale was geared for adults – and found wanting, very wanting. They seem to be focused on how they enjoyed the film rather than the littlies.

Which is very much the case with Two By Two: Overboard, a sequel to the 2015 film, Oops, Noah’s Gone…/ All Creatures Big and Small.

But, in trying to see this little adventure through the eyes of its audience, we see it is full of colour and delight, animals galore, after all it does start on a variation of Noah’s Ark, animals two by two, a Lion King in charge, sending out a bird to find land (the audience is a bit too young to get the Genesis 6 references). The motley group of animals, bonding and fighting, is enough to gain the interest, as well as the fact that the food is running out, there is a horrible green slop which they all have to eat at every meal.

There is here are two central characters. Finney, a Nestrian (funny looking creatures to say the least) who can live above and below water, whose father is the chief chef, Dave, trying to maintain some peace on the Ark. It is Leah, a Grymp (a cat-looking type), whose mother, Hazel, works with Dave. They are up on the Ark lookout. A wave washes them overboard – and, so, this is their adventure, in the sea, discoveries, their being separated, Leah surviving on an island paradise, Finney finding more Nestrians, even a secret colony, where he is delighted to be welcomed – even though the Nestrian in charge, a severe lady called Patch, is not too keen on outsiders coming in.

In the meantime, especially for the parents and grandparents accompanying the littlies, there is also the story of David and Hazel, on the Ark, the search for their children.

As with all the variations on the fairy stories, there have to be some adventures, some scary bits, some funny bits, the joy of parents finding children, and the possibility of peace all round.

Which means then that this is a film that is designed for the children aged 6 plus or minus (and not for film critics imagining that the film was made for them). (As illustrated by the opening paragraph of her film review by Lesley Felperin in the UK Guardian: “Although the first Two By Two film from 2015 was almost the cartoon equivalent of a war crime, this sequel is merely annoying for the most part, and even has fleeting moments when it’s sort of OK. That said, the script is still super-derivative and the retina-searing palette should carry a health warning.”

Rialto Films
Released 1 April
Peter Malone MSC is an associate Jesuit Media

 

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