Playing at select cinemas.
Movies like Katak: The Brave Beluga can have a difficult time standing out. This French-Canadian produced film made a few waves in the last week of February playing nationwide. As for crossing the sea to be known in other territories like the main character (voiced by Alexandre Bacon) did, means there’s going to be an uphill struggle. Not only are there bullies in this journey to find his place in an aquatic society but also, not everyone is willing to aide him along the way.
Here, this young whale is out to fulfil his ailing grandmother’s last wish, and that’s to reunite the family. He never met grandpa, and he migrated away to somewhere in the Arctic. To find him will be tough when considering the vastness but in what this film lacks in spirit, there’s lots of heart put into this coming of age and road trip journey.
Pacing is this film’s greatest challenge. It’s designed to entertain young children. For an adult who lost interest at the end of the first act, staying invested was tough. I think the problem here is that this movie is more in par with attempts from Australia’s early attempts at animated features. The production focuses too much on getting the look right and forget having a coherent story matters. I can’t help but be reminded of A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures, and didn’t get that far with that when it first debuted.
Katak: The Brave Beluga wants to be like Finding Nemo in some ways, but ultimately keeping anyone invested means having characters to really like. The little whale is charming and cute, but that’s not enough to hold the tale. It needs some DreamWorks magic to help make him sing. Or rather, have that energy that made Happy Feet such a joy to watch. The additional themes felt put on just because it needed to exist.
The studio, 10th Ave Productions, is a relatively small company aspiring to create big things. They’ve been catering to Quebec’s entertainment scene for more than a decade and perhaps what they need to weigh in on is what makes the higher budgeted productions succeed before embarking on their next venture.