Review: Snowflake, the White Gorilla / Cert: U / Director: Andrés G. Schaer / Screenplay: Amèlia Mora, Albert Val / Starring: David Spade, Ariana Grande, Jennette McCurdy, Elsa Pataky, Nathan Kress, K. Stoink, Keith Davis, Christopher Lloyd, Pere Ponce / Release Date: Out Now
Snowflake, the White Gorilla almost certainly passed you by because, as far as we can tell, it never got a UK release in cinemas or on DVD. All of which makes it something of a surprise for it to suddenly turn up on Blu-ray. It’s a Spanish children’s movie based on the true story of Snowflake, the world’s only known albino gorilla who spent most of his life as the most popular attraction of Barcelona Zoo until his death in 2003. The film is a mixture of CGI (for the animals) and live action (for the humans) but is, somewhat confusingly, dubbed into English. This is fine for the CGI’d critters but jars next to the badly lip-synched humans. It also means that when you see David Spade (Saturday Night Live, Rules of Engagement) heading the cast it comes as no surprise that he’s voicing a comedy Red Panda (that thinks it’s a cat), but it’s odd to hear Christopher Lloyd (you know who he is) dubbing Spanish star Pere Ponce. Well, we think he’s a star in Spain; we’re quite prepared to be told they’ve never heard of him either but he’s got a lengthy IMDb entry of Spanish things.
If you can get over all this vocal anarchy then what we have is a rather nice-looking movie, which probably explains its appearance on Blu-ray. Not the best CGI you’ll see but just rather aesthetically pleasing; probably because it’s somewhat surprisingly set in 1966. You see that’s when the real Snowflake was discovered , when his familial group were all shot dead in Equatorial Guinea simply to capture this apparently unique specimen. Although glossed over a bit, this fact is somewhat surprisingly included in the film. So after attending to this historical detail, quite why the film decides to make the male Snowflake into a girl is anyone’s guess. Mind you, the real Snowflake didn’t talk, seldom escaped from the zoo and almost never met any witches either, so perhaps we’re being churlish.
The plot involves Snowflake being rejected by the Daily Mail-reading patriarch gorilla at the zoo because of her being different . Snowflake escapes to find a way to become normal but in the end discovers that it’s better to be yourself and that sometimes that means being different. Fantastic message for the kids and this film is definitely one for just the kids. There’s nothing here for the adults other than something to keep children entertained. David Spade is probably there for the adult laughs but he’s not actually funny. The rest of the humour is slapstick, although it’s occasionally quite good slapstick. This writer bribed his nine-year old son to watch it and despite a lack of early enthusiasm he described it as “good” and “fun”. But then again, he’s too young to be irritated by apparently '60s children saying “awesome” rather too often.
So not actually a terrible movie but we can’t recommend it to a grown-up audience. Not unless you’re a fan of Elsa Pataky and want to see her playing a witch. You are? You do? Sorry, we should have mentioned that right at the top. That may be all you need to know.