Firmly rooted in the farfetched, Capture The Flag follows the story of Mike (Carme Calvell) and his friends Amy (Michelle Jenner) and Marty (Javier Balas) as they battle Richard Carson (Dani Rovira) a megalomaniac billionaire with evil plans to steal the Moon’s supply of Helium 3 – the clean energy source of the future. Along the way though Mike has to deal with his dysfunctional family back on Earth, before everybody is saved from disaster on an intergalactic scale.

It seems all things space are the flavour of the moment, with the UK recently seeing their first man, Tim Peake, go into orbit. As a result – riding on the back of this landmark event – Paramount Picture’s are probably hoping that interest in their new animated family epic Capture The Flag, will be considerable. Having seen the film, are they justified in their expectations? Well yes, and no.

This feature length cartoon – the first of what promises to be many released on the big screen in the coming year – is a charming piece of whimsy with all the standard elements you would expect from this genre. Even so, though you have the typical all-American nuclear family of a mother (trying to hold everything together), father (more interested in his work than the lives of his nearest and dearest) and two kids – older, frustrated, child and irritating (but cute) younger sibling – along with a group of the older child’s misfit friends, there are also a couple of exceptions to the norm. Here we also have a grandfather figure in the shape of moody, failed, former astronaut Frank (Camilo García) and a bizarre pet chameleon called Igor (Oriol Tarragó), belonging to Mike’s friend Marty, clearly added for light relief in the same way Disney included characters like Gus and Jaq in Cinderella (1950).

Really, when analysing the film there is very little to say against it. As with most modern animated features – save the occasional release like the recent exquisite Song of the Sea (2104) from Cartoon Saloon, which was astounding to watch – and in particular those backed by the major film studios, Capture The Flag is pretty formulaic: good battles evil in a storyline generally weighted towards traditional moral values, and where the eventual outcome is never really in doubt.

The question with films like this though, is do they have fun putting their message across? The answer with Capture The Flag would be yes. There is nothing particularly irksome in it with even Carson, the villain of the piece, strangely alluring in a flash, bombastic, all-American fashion. And with action which never lets up the film should manage to hold children’s attention for its duration which is, after all, its main purpose.

Director: Enrique Gato
Stars: Camilo García, Carme Calve, Dani Rovira, Javier Balas, Michelle Jenner, Oriol Tarragó
Runtime: 94 minutes
Country: Spain

Film Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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