Robinson Crusoe (2016)
Directed by: Ben Stassen, Vincent Kesteloot | 91 minutes | animation, adventure, comedy, family | Dutch voice cast: Tim Douwsma, Lies Visschedijk, Marcel Hensema, Yes-R, Pip Pellens, Anna Speller, Erik de Vogel
Daniel Defoe’s world-famous book about the castaway Robinson Crusoe who manages to keep himself alive for 29 years on a desert island has more than proven its timelessness. In the animated film ‘Robinson Crusoe’ (released internationally as ‘The Wild Life’, which is an incomprehensible choice) we see the story of the sailor from the eyes of macau Tuesday (a joke that the young viewers, who do not know the original story , will surely be missed).
‘Robinson Crusoe’ comes from the stable of Ben Stassen, who previously made ‘Sammy’s Adventures’ and ‘Flash and the Magic House’. The fact that technology has now made a leap forward is probably not the only reason that ‘Robinson Crusoe’ can measure up to the work of the major animation studios. The experience will also have helped, because visually ‘Robinson Crusoe’ is to pass through a ring.
The story being told is quite predictable and has a messy structure. At the beginning of the film, Robinson is plucked from the sea by a couple of pirates, and he is allowed to tell his story. Of course, the pirates have a secret agenda with their rescue mission, hoping that there are treasures hidden on the island. While heavily furred Robinson reports to his rescuers, his friend the macau reveals the real story to a bunch of mice. And that part is at the heart of the film, in which Robinson is shipwrecked, washes up on an uninhabited island and watches the beasts that live there with suspicion – and she especially him. It takes a little too long for them to befriend and try to help each other. Too much time is also lost with the movie’s bad guys, two feral cats who are shipwrecked along with Robinson and want revenge for not quite clear reasons.
The joke density is rather low for a film in this genre. There are many incentives, but the humor is not really visible. You can’t get much further than a single smile. And because the story doesn’t really captivate and the humor kills you, you’ll soon forget this variant of ‘Robinson Crusoe’, despite the visual splendor.