25 September 2017 | TheLittleSongbird
While not high-flying, it's no rotten robin
As has been said by me many times, am a huge fan of animation. Always have been, always will be, so naturally will see any animated film regardless of age, how high budget or not it is and the studio/director it comes from.
'Yellowbird' may not be a great film, let alone a masterpiece, but it is decent entertainment that won't offend anybody (while also not particularly inspiring anybody). There are certainly far worse animations out there, but they won't be named considering they've been talked about by me enough in recent months. As far as animated films go, to me 'Yellowbird' is one of the not exceptional but slightly above average ones, which is actually a not so bad distinction to have despite how bland that sounds to anybody else.
While conventional storytelling is hardly bad, there are a lot of animated films that are conventional in story but execute it well, 'Yellowbird' can come over as a little too conventional, meaning that things can get predictable and like "this seems very familiar". There are parts where things are spelt out a little too much.
There is a lack of finesse at times in some of the animation movement, and a few of the characters are blandly generic particularly Delf.
However, most of the animation is impressive. The flying sequences soar beautifully, while there is such a sweeping realism to a lot of the photography/shots, some visual invention and vibrant colours. The soundtrack is breezy yet softens and darkens the tone when necessary.
'Yellowbird' is not a laugh a minute film, but it does have enough amusing moments to satisfy both children and adults, it won't go over younger viewers' heads nor will it be too juvenile for older ones. There are also emotional moments, such as a crucial death that while clearly (but affectionately) modelled on the tear-jerking death scenes in Disney is quite poignant. The ending is a clever one and the most visually striking and compelling sequence is the one with the semi-submerged oil tank, which was thrilling but not too dark.
A few bland characters aside, most of them have distinct enough personality traits, that are not treated overtly or vaguely, to make them stand apart. Yellowbird (regardless of whether one questions his likability or lack of, to me he made mistakes but evolved), Darius and Karl are particularly interesting. The voice acting is very good, Seth Green is a neat fit for the title character while Dakota Fanning is suitably spirited and there's great work from Danny Glover, Richard Kind, Elliot Gould and Yvette Nicole Brown.
In summary, nothing mind-blowing but not bad at all. 6/10 Bethany Cox