This film is a bit of a strange beast. It is the sequel to a successful Spanish language animated film that never gained a release in the UK. Given that these films have some form of through line in terms of plot and character it seemed to be an unusual move to punt this film into the cinemas and expect it to engage with anyone.
Tad, a would be archaeologist, is currently working in construction to make ends meet before he gets back into his studies. The girl of his dreams (see previous film apparently) is off following a series of clues which could lead to the treasure of King Midas. Of course she is not the only one looking for the prize. The film’s antagonist, a dastardly dark character replete with comic henchmen, are never far away and soon decide to kidnap her rather than race against her. Just before her capture she sends her notes on to Tad. Duly galvanised by concern for Sara, he sets of on a worldwide adventure to save the girl and save the day.
It’s difficult to work out who this film is aimed at. It carries a U certificate which indicates it should have some sort of appeal and be suitable for everyone. The primary audience for these movies are normally pre-school and early primary age kids who, in theory, should lap this up. The animation style is colourful and clear, there is the usual mix of characters and it is fast paced. Somehow, with these usually reliable elements in place, it just doesn’t work.
Unless you are already invested in the characters then the film falls a bit flat. Tad is a likeable enough character but there are some serious problems with watching this as a stand alone piece. There are references throughout to the previous film that makes following the story a bit tough. This is a real problem as young kids will just switch off from it. The main sidekick for Tad is also a problem. A mummy from the first movie makes a return in order provide another comedic element to the proceedings. As the initial scenes are set in Vegas the Mummy decides that dressing up as Seventies style Elvis is a good idea. Now, as good an idea as that seemed at the time it is a case of not taking your audience into consideration. Although iconic to many adults, the Elvis references will be totally lost on kids and to be honest it isn’t that funny to begin with and only gets worse as the film goes on.
To make up for a general lack of ideas the film jumps from one iconic location to another to try to keep the audience engaged. What this does is to serve up repeating set pieces that just don’t hit the mark in terms of entertainment. I don’t know if it’s just a lack of ideas or something else, but is soon becomes a bit of a drag. It isn’t really good enough just to use a well used formula with the intention of making something for kids these days. There is so much competition out there and of such a high standard that films like this are shown up in nearly every department.