Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Filling Up: Open Road Picks Up 'Arctic Justice'

Do any of you guys remember Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad?

The project is from a Canadian production company called AMBI Group. It's set to be directed by former DreamWorks animator Dimos Vrysellas, and the scribes are Bob Barlen and Cal Brunker (The Nut Job 2, Escape from Planet Earth). It even has a full cast, and was floating around for a long while. The picture looks to be very cartoony and madcap, but I'm not quite sure about it. The writers' resume isn't the best, though like I said a while back, we can't assume that film's downfall was due to just the writers. Like most of these sillier animated titles, it could go either way.

The animation community first heard about it back in mid-2015, though I was not one of those folks! I first heard of it in April of last year, when a boatload of images and concept art pieces were unearthed. For a while, it didn't have a distributor. The reports said that the crew were looking to release the film in early 2018. Now, Open Road Films has fattened up their animation slate. They will be distributing the film, plus everything ToonBox/Red Rover has in the works. The recently-delayed Blazing Samurai will also be released by them. The more the merrier...

No concrete date has been inked. It and Blazing Samurai are TBD 2018 releases, though I'm sure they'll get dates once things fall into place.

The plot seems to have stayed the same too, but one of Open Road's heads decided to emphasize how topical the film is going to be, since it's about arctic critters taking on an evil walrus who wants to melt the polar ice caps and take over the world.

Now that could either work, or it could be unsubtle and forced. There's nothing wrong with a little environmental message or two, but the execution really matters. You could be subtle about it and weave it into your story in a meaningful way (WALL-E, I'll argue, tries not to hammer it), or you could be insincere about it (looking at you, Lorax!) and treat the audience like they're dumb. Some movies do that, unfortunately. Plus, your movie in question should be entertainment with something to say, not a boring, on-the-nose seminar.

All of that aside, this is one of those "who knows" kinda movies for me. The premise seems cool, and I dug a lot of the concept art, but how the writing will add up remains to be seen and heard.

What say you?

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