Five years ago, Ooops! The Ark is Gone” to the family audience. Now the animated film with the sequel OOOPS! 2 – LAND IN SIGHT continued. We’ll reveal in our review whether there’s enough material for a second part.
OT: Oops! The Adventure Continues (IRE/LUX 2020)
The mood on the ark is in shambles: after weeks at sea, supplies are running low and land is still not in sight. This is a real challenge for Nestrier Dave (USA voice Christian Ulmen) and Grymp Kate, who are the cooks on board and therefore also the peacemakers on the ship – because without food on the ark it might be “eat or be eaten” again. . When junior Nestrian Finny and his best friend, the young Grymp Leah, are swept unnoticed out to sea with the last of their supplies, the chaos seems perfect! But the two friends and their new companion, the chatty jellyfish girl Jelly, escape onto a makeshift raft, set sail and come across a remote, beautiful island full of secrets, dangers and also hopes – as well as other nestlings…
In 2015, the USA-Luxembourgish-Belgian-Irish joint production “Ooops! The Ark is gone…” just over 260,000 ticket sales at the USA box office. Worldwide, there were numerous market-specific titles that grossed almost $25 million. This doesn’t necessarily call for a sequel, especially since the first film tells the story of the chaotic ark crew and the colorful creatures Finny, Dave, Kate and Leah in the credits and shows the happy ending after the ark is anchored. And yet it continues: As with the first part, Toby Genkel and Sean McCormack are drawing for the direction (“Luis and the Aliens”) responsible. The screenplay was written by Richard “Richie” Conroy and Marc Hodkinson (sometimes spelled Mark Hodkinson), two of the four writers of the original. With the reduction in the writing team, “Ooops! 2 – Land in Sight” is accompanied by a “Well, who cares about continuity?” attitude.
Finny meets other Nestrian children in the colony and clearly feels comfortable with them.
The sequel ignores the conclusion of the predecessor and shows us the ark further on the high seas: the gigantic ship has been drifting around for 147 days. 50,000 meals must be served every day to prevent the carnivores from going back to hunting. And gradually the food runs out. There is only green, slimy mud left – and only for a few days. And the pigeon that was sent out to find land never showed up again… Zack, the stage is set for a new story. In the press release for “Ooops! 2 – Land in Sight”, the directors claim that the idea for the sequel came to them when they were rendering the last image of the predecessor and realized that they had fallen in love with the characters and the world of the film. So they would simply have to continue exploring the “infinite number of possibilities”. It quickly became clear that more focus had to be placed on the colorful, snubbed fur-bearers, the Nestrians created for the film – after all, they were particularly well received by the audience during the trailer for the first part. But at this point we don’t even want to accuse those responsible for the “Ooops!” films of purely commercial calculations: the colorful fluffy creatures are simply the visual highlight of these films, which are otherwise acceptable on an aesthetic level but also very stiff – if you continue the original , then you should rely on your strengths.
“In the press release for “Ooops! 2 – Land in Sight”, the directors claim that the idea for the sequel came to them when they were rendering the last image of the predecessor and realized that they had fallen in love with the characters and the world of the film.”
The Nestrians even bring narrative potential: In “Ooops! 2 – Land in Sight”, the child protagonists discover a whole people of these fuzzy, over-cautious creatures who have built up their own culture and are very protective of it. Not all Nestrians like the prospect of taking in numerous other animals because they are in need: How paradisiacal could their paradise remain if they have to share it, they ask themselves… This is a conflict that is as timeless as it is current, as envy and… Resentment is an understandable topic in all age groups and in every political climate, but for obvious reasons it has a different gravity these days. And that is no coincidence: the producers write in the press release that they wrote the story “for a generation of children who are experiencing the profound cultural change directly – in their families, at school, in the cities where they live. “Through our history we want to create understanding and promote social coexistence in which xenophobia and racism have no place,” they continue. That’s extremely laudable, but the producers bit off more than they could swallow.
The chatty jellyfish girl Jelly accompanies Finny and Leah on their adventures.
Although “Ooops! 2 – Land in sight” is entertaining and understandable, that antipathies based on superficialities are not appropriate, and how bad it is to want to have everything for yourself when others are in need. But even for a children’s film, “Ooops! 2 – Land in Sight” both the emergency situations and the motivation of the uncooperative in such a way that the film’s statements barely take on the dimensions of calendar sayings. In addition, the plot-centric scenes are few and far between, so that the emotional scope of the story remains very limited anyway: large stretches of the approximately 85-minute film are filled with slapstick sections that have no major consequences and are often over-extended because gags are repeated , without increasing or varying them. The few exceptions include the increasingly absurd misadventures of the land-seeking pigeon (which are also cartoonishly exaggerated and therefore very surprising in this otherwise rather reserved film in terms of imagery) and the introduction monologue of the mega-cute jellyfish Jelly. It goes on and on about how many animals eat jellyfish and how tasty they are instead of trying to get to safety in a potentially dangerous situation – and that’s very funny thanks to a mega-naïve synchro performance and the stupid eyes of this baby jellyfish.
“Long stretches of the approximately 85-minute film are filled with slapstick sections that have no major consequences and are often over-extended, as gags are repeated without increasing or varying them.”
Otherwise, the film blusters along unmotivatedly, and a few continuity errors, long-standing gags where the punchline doesn’t follow, and some scenes that either begin or end almost statically further detract from the overall impression of the film. Even the best films of all time have their continuity problems, but with “Ooops!” 2 – Land in Sight” a feeling of lack of care emerges. The hinted third part doesn’t exactly sound like a promise…
Conclusion: “Oops! 2 – Land in sight” is better in terms of animation than its predecessor and the sequel has some ambitions in terms of content, but the implementation is poor: over-extended gags, lazy conflicts and characters with little personality make this animated film quickly forgettable.
“Oops! 2 – Land in Sight” can be seen in USA cinemas from September 24th.