YOU might very well think that Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel about a defiant young adventurer who ends up shipwrecked on an island wouldn’t be very well-suited to a kid friendly animation. And you’d be right.
This decisively forgettable Belgian-made animation (re-dubbed for English-language audiences) follows the adventurer of the title as he ends up on an island uninhabited by humans but populated with a diverse array of exotic animals living harmoniously together.
At first trying his best to get off the island using his own limited abilities, he soon realises that in order to escape he must first accept the help of the dutiful animals. These include a chameleon, a doddery old goat and a perky, daydreaming macaw named Mak, our narrator and the closest thing to a hero beyond Crusoe himself.
There’s nothing in this particular version of the classic story to greatly offend or abhor, not unless you’re willing to get up in arms about a child-aimed take on words written almost three centuries ago. It’s just there’s nothing memorable about the way the story is handled here.
The plot, with all its added quirks and bizarre feline-based villainy, is simple and straightforward but also rather flat and uninvolving, with only a colourful visual palette to stop things sinking into complete and utter boredom.
Aardman’s seafaring yarn The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists! was very much going for the same sort of thing but it was far more successful at putting little twists and surprises into a historical tale. Here it all feels quite laboured and jarring, laying the groundwork for subversion of a famous saga without the comedic and clever storytelling chops to back it up.