At this year’s Annecy International Animated Film Festival, Netflix was present for the first time. The streaming giant has turned into an original content making machine. Though not all of their films have been successes, Netflix announced two major animated features at Annecy – Sergio Pablos’ Klaus and Kris Pearn’s The Willoughbys. The Willougby’s is an adaptation of the children’s novel of the same name by Lois Lowry.
What is the plot of The Willougbys?
From the Annecy Festival, Kris Pearn told the panel: “This film is an old fashioned story riddled with tropes, but it’s for a contemporary audience.
“It’s a love letter to kid logic, unconventional families and awkward childhoods.
“It’s a story for anybody who struggles to fit in. It’s a story for families about families that struggle to be perfect families and often fail.”
In the footage shown at Annecy, the Willougby children are creating a travel brochure to tempt their parents to holiday in the most dangerous places in the world such as the unscalable Alps in Switzerland.
Pearn described the movie as “Willy Wonka meets Daddy Warbucks meets Citizen Kane.”
The movie features a colourful nanny who arrives to watch the children.
Variety wrote: “As the Willoughby children, under her influence, discover more of their city and then the world, The Willoughbys begins to fill with colour, to the point of the kids using the power of a rainbow to go off in pursuit of their parents, having decided they really need a family.”
They also wrote Pearn “describes the movie as a coming-of-age narrative”
When the children make contact with a modern world, begin to wonder if they really want to be orphaned at all.
Who is in the cast of The Willougby’s?
Will Forte voices Tim Willoughby, an old fashioned kid with a bitter exterior, a heart of gold and really short pants.
Jane, the little sister and Tim’s main ally and foil, is voiced by Canadian singer Alessia Cara.
Pearn described her as having”a big voice and a lot to say; unfortunately, nobody wants to listen.”
There are twin brothers, both named Barnaby, voiced by Sean Cullen.
Pearn added: “But the most important character is the cat, the narrator, voiced by our executive producer, Ricky Gervais, this whole story is told from its perspective.”
“The movie challenges them to re examine what it means to be a family.”
As of writing, Pearn said the movie is: “40 percent animated, 15 percent lit.”
The Willoughby’s is scheduled for a Spring 2020 release date.