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Capture the Flag


Stars: Voices: Dani Rovira, Michelle Jenner, Carme Calvell, Javier Balas, Camilo Garcia, Toni Mora, Marta Barbara, Fernando Garcia Cabrera, Xavier Casan, Oriol Tarrago

Director: Enrique Gato

Can a 12-year-old lad, his grouchy grandfather and his pals boldly go into space to save mankind from the evil plans of a vile millionaire who seeks to erase all evidence of Man’s celebrated landing on the moon by the astronauts of the Apollo XI mission in 1969 by seizing the flag planted by Armstrong and Aldrin?

Suspense over.

Good triumphs over evil as it should do in every family-friendly animated adventure. And so the mad billionaire never achieves his ambition which, after stealing the flag, centres on him holding mankind to ransom by cornering the market for the vital fuel Helium 3 which he intends to produce on the moon.

This wild and wacky science fiction adventure may not be Pixar, Disney or Dreamworks but that said, its Spanish creators have delivered a fun family extravaganza whose spunky young hero and his allies keep things moving briskly despite the inevitable and anticipated happy ending.
While the central concept – that the moon landings were faked – is well put over, complete with a Stanley Kubrick-lookalike to appeal to sci fi cineastes.

The animation is excellent (with attractive resemblances or, possibly, homage to the daffy illustration in 1930s and 1940s pulp science fiction magazines) and (I can’t vouch for actual accuracy since NASA turned me down) the lunar landscapes impress, which must be due in some measure to NASA astronaut Miguel Lopez-Alegria and Apollo 12 moonwalker Alan Bean who were the film’s technical advisors.

It’s sentimental, notably in charting the family schisms between grandfather and his astronaut son, but suffused with some enjoyable cynicism too, conspicuously for featuring a female American President.

So could Capture the Flag (the Stars and Stripes, obviously) simply be a camouflaged political plug for Hillary Clinton?

Alan Frank

Spain 2015. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour.
94 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 30 Jan 2016