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Mia and the Magoo
Time Out New York Project: Issue #805, March 24-30, 2011
Dir. Jacques-Rémy Girerd. 2008. N/R. 92mins. Voices of Amanda Misquez, Vincent Agnello, Wallace Shawn.
Mia (Misquez) and Aldrin (Agnello) are two opposite-sides-of-the-tracks kids with shared daddy issues. Aldrin’s pa is the billionaire developer of a Dubai-like apartment complex, which he intends to erect in one of the last temperate locations on Earth (global warming has made most of the world uncomfortably sweltering). Mia’s father is a worker on the site who vanishes one night after a cave-in caused by a group of mysterious creatures. These beings, as Mia and Aldrin eventually discover, are the Migoo — supernatural guardians who watch over a nearby tree that is inextricably connected to the fate of the planet.
Produced in France and dubbed into English for stateside release, Jacques-Rémy Girerd’s animated fable is lovingly designed, but dramatically inert. There are frequent cliff-hanging dangers and an apocalyptic fire-and-ice climax, yet strangely, little seems to be at stake. Thematically, the film is caught in some vague middle ground between Hayao Miyazaki’s poetic parables and the eco-kitsch of Ferngully: The Last Rainforest, though at least there’s no rapping bat voiced by Robin Williams. (The closest we come is hoodoo-voodoo sorceress with the pipes of Whoopi Goldberg.) And the toke-tastic visuals are an endless delight, especially the Migoo themselves, who look like the offspring of McDonald’s Grimace and Calvin and Hobbes’ killer monster snow goons.—Keith Uhlich
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