Before I begin, I want to “thank” a friend of mine for bringing this movie to my attention. I could have been continuing my retrospective on the Alien and Predator franchises, but I’m such a good friend so much I’ve review this movie first. So for that particular person, I hope this was good enough.
Spirit of the Forest is bland. Really bland. Reviewing a movie like this is difficult because it’s a struggle to remember what I saw. Beatriz Iso script is your standard save the forest from the bad humans narrative. There is no new spin on it to make it standout. Everything you think is going to happen plays out the way you expect it to. I might have given the film some merit if it was well-executed, but I can’t even give it that.
The whole film feels so lifeless in its presentation. And that comes down to David Rubin’s bad direction. Scenes meant to be intense or emotional have no weight to them. I felt no twinge of excitement during any of the major set-pieces. There were actually a few moments where I felt unconformable during my viewing even though I know that wasn’t the intention of those scenes. The best thing about the direction were a few scenes that had some interesting use of lighting, but that’s it.
With such poor direction, it doesn’t do anything to save the mediocre animation. The actual movement isn’t too bad, but the character models look unappealing. I think they could have been fine if more time was given into making sure they look finished, but the final result looks ugly. A few of the animal has some nonsensical design choices too, such as one of the gophers wearing glasses or the hats the flies have.
There was also a few editing decisions that seemed odd to me. Scenes that look like someone is about to get hit, and then it jumps to the moment after the hit took place. As if the film didn’t want to upset family members with violent imagery that’s not even that violent when you really look at it. It’s seem contradictory when characters get eaten alive onscreen or hint that someone got their head cut off with a chainsaw (It doesn’t, but it sure looked like it did).
The most praise I can give to Spirit of the Forest is the voice acting. Talents like Sean Astin, Giovanni Ribisi, Ron Perlman, and Anjelica Huston for instance deliver competent performances. Nothing great, but decent enough. They did the most they could do with such a bland script.
And bland is the best word to summarize this movie. The story is bland. Characters are bland. Bland animation. Bland everything. I struggle to remember what I’ve watched for the past 90 minutes. There not much I can say about it. Spirit of the Forest is well, bland. Give this one a skip.
One last thing. The ending hints that they will be a sequel. Which is interesting, since this movie is also a sequel to a film that came out in 2001. Seeing that Spirit of the Forest came out in 2008 and nothing has come out since then, its safe to say those plans where shot dead in their tracks. Thank goodness for that.