Animal Crackers Movie Review: A tasteful treat
A fascinating idea, and one that has been translated tastefully to the screen with predictable-yet-enjoyable twists
Long before Iron Man snapped to save the universe, sacrificing his life and Superman got almost killed by Doomsday onscreen, 90s kids and those born before them had our very own real-life superheroes in the form of circus performers and acrobats. These heroes performed incredible feats with ease and showed us what true bravery is. Many of us would have probably dreamt of becoming one as kids. It is a pity that the circus troupes which proudly sported titles like 'Royal' and 'Majestic', are all but gone now or forced to beg for an audience. While experts state that we will need magic to bring circuses back to their old glory, Animal Crackers is a film that does exactly that. A magical animal crackers box has the power to transform the eater into an animal based on the cracker they eat. It's a fascinating idea, and one that has been translated tastefully to the screen with predictable-yet-enjoyable twists.
Cast: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Danny DeVito, Ian McKellan and Sylvester Stallone
Director: Scott Christian Sava, Tony Bancroft
Streaming on: Netflix
The husband-wife duo John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, who sent chills down our spine with A Quiet Place, keep us smiling throughout in Animal Crackers and tickle our funny bones every now and then as Owen and Zoe. It is a brilliant idea to cast a real-life couple as their chemistry is a huge boost to the film. Though they only lend their voices to this animated feature, having their avatars modelled after the actors' real appearances adds a special something to the narrative.
Though I was really looking forward to watching Sylvester Stallone's Bullet-Man in action, it was Gilbert Gottfried who stole the show as Mario Zucchini, an overconfident bigmouth who keeps self-praising during the oddest moments. Being the huge Tamil cinema fan that I am, I couldn't refrain from comparing his role to Thiyagu's hilarious 'Adhaamla' Varghis in Enakkoru Magan Pirappan. I also particularly liked the riotous dream song he has with Ian McKellan's Horatio.
While keeping us entertained throughout, the film also reflects the harsh realities of our society and the era we are living in. During a specific scene at the circus, we are shown an unsatisfied smartphone-wielding crowd booing at the acrobats who risk their lives to entertain them. The only one who gets furious at this cruelty and raises a voice against it is a four-year-old girl with a noble soul, uncorrupted by the evil of this fast-moving world. Though this moment lasts only for a couple of seconds, the impact lingers long.
Looking back, I feel the magical animal crackers in the film might also be metaphors to how we humans alter our nature depending on situations — being lions in front of our aides and hares in the presence of our superiors. But interestingly, the lion in Animal Crackers plays electric guitar, the octopus jumps out of a canon, landing with a backflip, and a gorilla does a salsa to make people happy and keep their family together. I guess this is a gentle nudge for us to remember that no matter who we are underneath, it is essential to loosen up and walk that extra mile for our loved ones.
(Animal Crackers is streaming on: Netflix)