I’m not the kind of orthodox Lovecraft fan who clamps his tentacles in horror at the mere idea of an all ages animated film concerning the man (or as in this case the boy) and his yog-sothery, so in principle, I have no problem whatsoever with the basic conception of Sean Patrick O’Reilly’s animated feature. Unfortunately, I do have quite a few with the film’s actual execution.
The animation side suffers from all the problems you might suspect when
confronted with low budget computer animation: movement is often jerky,
characters lack personality thanks to their painfully generic design and a
minimum of detail, and the lack of background detail here borders on the
absurd.A more creative approach to these technical and budgetary limitations
could have turned into a style of its own for the film, but the way things
end up on screen, the characters and environments just looks tacky and cheap.
That’s certainly not a way to get sucked into the film’s world – unless bad
digital animation is cosmic horror for kids.
The voice acting is weird. On paper, the film features a perfectly capable
cast (with the bigger names of course playing the smallest roles), yet the style
of the performances fluctuates wildly, one third of the actors aiming for an 80s
Saturday morning cartoon style, another third sounding as if they were reading
directly from a script the have just encountered for the very first time, and
only the last third turns out something that actually fits the tone of the film
they are in. It’s so all over the place one might question if there was any
voice direction involved at all.
The concepts for the film’s world aren’t half bad, though you can hold it
against The Frozen Kingdom that half of its Lovecraft references are
mere namedropping without any actual use for the narrative, whereas much of the
other half is used in often terribly un-Lovecraftian ways. The latter isn’t a
problem for me, but the more conservative Lovecraft fans among the audience
might get somewhat annoyed. And it’s not as if there’s much to distract anyone
from any annoyances here, what with the lack of visual power, and a plot that is
a very basic quest set-up presented with a lot of convoluted detail to make it
look more complex than it actually is - and failing at that. Frankly, it’s a
waste of a good idea, or the rough draft of a movie waiting for someone to
actually polish it up.