Your guide to school hol­i­day movies


‘‘The hu­mour is broad, the an­i­ma­tion chunky and the vo­cal per­for­mances over-the-top. ’’

School hol­i­days loom large at the mo­ment and with the Hol­ly­wood block­buster sea­son be­ing at an end, movie choices are not as clear-cut.

An­i­ma­tion dom­i­nates the of­fer­ings this time around, although young adults do have the rare op­por­tu­nity to see a home­grown fan­tasy in the form of an adap­ta­tion of Mar­garet Mahy’s much-loved book The Changeover.

For those con­fused by what to take the charges to over the next two weeks, here’s our guide to what’s on at a screen near you.


(G, 89mins)

Ar­riv­ing 20 years af­ter Dav Pilkey cre­ated the first of his 12 much-loved and high­ly­con­tro­ver­sial books, David Soren’s ( in­au­gu­ral an­i­mated adap­ta­tion is both a de­light­ful primer and solid school hol­i­day en­ter­tain­ment. Like last year’s

this does a ter­rific job of cap­tur­ing the spirit and style of its source ma­te­rial.

The hu­mour is broad, the an­i­ma­tion chunky and the vo­cal per­for­mances over-the-top, the per­fect com­bi­na­tion for the books’ most-avid au­di­ence. - James Croot


(M, 93mins)

Thirty-three years af­ter it was first pub­lished, Mar­garet Mahy’s award­win­ning Christchurch-set story reaches the big screen in a ver­sion that up­dates the set­ting su­perbly, but lov­ingly re­tains Mahy’s mix of em­pow­ered young peo­ple and seem­ingly mun­dane malev­o­lence.

While the story even­tu­ally drifts into a pre­dictable cross of

meetsby way of there’s enough of Mahy’s knotty themes and ideas, solid, lov­ingly-crafted film­mak­ing and com­pelling per­for­mances to en­ter­tain au­di­ences of all ages. - JC


(PG, 86mins)

Ais a stan­dard hero’s jour­ney yarn set against the back­drop of a race through the apps in young Alex’s smart­phone.

What un­folds holds zero sur­prises, a star­tling de­gree of prod­uct place­ment, some at-times pass­able de­sign and a cou­ple of trips to the out­side world – where Alex, the phone’s owner, is des­per­ate to im­press a class­mate – that sug­gest the film-mak­ers had an­other, far bet­ter, script in them. They just couldn’t see it. - Graeme Tuckett


(G, 81mins) 1⁄2A cross be­tween

and this Euro­pean avian an­i­mated ad­ven­ture of­fers un­de­mand­ing

es­que an­tics. Chunky and bright an­i­ma­tion and a col­lec­tion of colour­ful char­ac­ters can’t hide a paucity of new ideas and pre­dictable ac­tion beats. Di­rec­tors Toby Genkel and Reza Me­mari keep the ac­tion com­ing thick and fast, but the ‘‘di­a­logue pol­ish and com­edy punch ups’’ by Jef­frey Hyl­ton and Joe Vi­tale mean the tone veers wildly from knock­about com­edy to gen­uine drama and so­cial com­men­tary. - JC

Ice Cap­tain Un­der­pants is prob­a­bly the pick of the kids’ movies these school hol­i­days. Top left, Mar­garet Mahy’s The Changeover is lov­ingly crafted.

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