REVIEW: MOSHI MONSTERS - THE MOVIE / CERT: U / DIRECTOR: WIP VERNOOIJ, MORGAN FRANCIS / SCREENPLAY: STEVE CLEVERLEY, JOCELYN STEVENSON / STARRING: PHILLIPA ALEXANDER, STEVE CLEVERLEY, RAJESH DAVID, BORIS HIESTAND, TOM CLARKE HILL / RELEASED: OUT NOW
Following a Raiders-esque opening, during which Buster Bumblechops manages to infiltrate an ancient temple in order to get his white fluffy mitts on the ‘Great Moshling Egg’, the insidious Doctor Strangeglove renews his plans to take over the world. Standing in his way are a menagerie of Moshis including Furi, Luvli, Diavlo, Zommer, Poppet and wannabe gooperstar Katsuma who will do their best to save the day (as long as Blinkie shoots them at all the right angles). Adorable adventures ensue, along with song, dance and a fair amount of kerfuffle.
If you have no idea what any of this means, then the chances are you won’t have a child under the age of 8.
To those who are blessed with these diminutive consumer vacuums, there’s a good possibility that Moshi Monsters will have graced your consciousnesses at some point or other. Beginning life as a groundbreaking website where kids could create cute (or occasionally gross) mini monster avatars to socialise with friends old and new online, the Moshi phenomenon soon grew exponentially. In no time at all, shops (and homes) were flooded with collectable mini figures, magazines, books, CDs and music videos. The only thing missing was a TV series or a movie. Until now.
It goes without saying that kids who love Moshi will love Moshi Monsters: The Movie. Why wouldn’t they? It is the culmination of the franchise’s escalation, taking everything that the children love about the medium and cramming it into 81 minutes of vibrant multi-colour fun. The streets of Monstro City are there, the shop owners they know so well from the online virtual world are in evidence and just about every Moshi that exists is seen somewhere in frame. There’s adventure, humour, danger and even morals! So why do the end credits leave the adult viewer cold?
It’s no surprise that parents are made to sit through a large degree of tosh during their time, but for the most part creators of children’s films know that pleasing the adult who is paying for the viewing experience is almost as important as keeping the kids glued to the screen. After all, they’re the ones who will ultimately decide whether to cough up to watch it again. And that’s where this Moshi movie falls slightly flat.
There is very little here for anyone old enough to vote to enjoy. Yes, there are the monster puns (Scare Force One, Jollywood, Mount Sillymanjaro etc) but while Katsuma and his pals join the dots from A to B in textbook style, save for sitting and watching the wonderment in the eyes of your children, there’s not much to enjoy. Sure, this was never going to be a film that adults would choose to watch alone, but cinematic history is peppered with kids films that embraced adult humour (the LEGO movie being an outstanding – see we didn’t say ‘awesome’ – example). Sadly, this just isn’t one of them.
After watching it, my son gave this a nine out of ten. Yet I don’t think that’s a fair representation of the overall family experience, so his score slips a couple of places in my view. Moshi Monsters: The Movie does what it says on the shiny collectors tin, but it could have tried harder and been a little bit more.