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Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang

8/10

Stars: Raul Rivas, Daniel Cerezo, Javier Gutiérrez, Claudia Vega, Fran Garcia, Marco Ruiz, Christian Mulas

Director: Oskar Santos

This kids' movie from Spain is tremendous fun, although whether UK sprogs will want to watch a subtitled film is another matter.

Zip and Zap (Rivas, Cerezo) are naughty brothers packed off to the the Hope Re-Education Centre. run by black-patched Falconetti (Gutiérrez) with iron hand, abetted by a staring-eyed jack-of-all-trades (Mulas) with a vicious dog that even the teachers are scared of.

The school's living conditions are straight out of The Great Escape, which is what Zip and Zap plan to make. First they form the Marble Gang with a visiting girl (Vega), a fat kid (Garcia) and a boy (Ruiz) with a photographic memory.

Soon the gang becomes enmeshed in a crazy hunt for a treasure of diamonds, supposedly 'hidden in toys' by the school's founder, by opening a series of elaborate doors involving the use of the aforesaid marbles - with Falconetti close on their heels.

The film is ingenious, inventive, forever on the move and full of fun detail, photographed in primary colours and with amazing clarity by Josu Inchaustegui. There are wicked lines ('Who are the real hooligans? British soccer fans - right?'), blink-and-you-miss-it moments - the boys are all numbered; watch out for the close-up of 007 - plus a clever ending in which the location of the diamonds is revealed in the very last shot.

Drag your children, like Falconetti with Zip and Zap, along by the ears if necessary to this jolly good treat.

David Quinlan

Spain/Hungary 2013. UK Distributor: Soda. Colour by deluxe.
92 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

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

Review date: 26 Mar 2017