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When a Disney/Pixar film is released it usually takes the animation genre ‘onwards and upwards’ – by offering that little bit of ingenuity that other competitors lack.

This time round it’s more a ‘sideways’ step – but there are still ‘moments’ of cleverness in their latest effort.

Set in a suburban fantasy world – where ‘magic’ once existed, but hasn’t been required due to technology taking over – two teenage elf brothers go on a journey to try and conjure some spells of their own.

Timid and straight-laced Ian Lightfoot (Tom ‘Spider-Man’ Holland) can’t remember his father – who died when he was very young – while his erratic ‘black sheep’ older brother Barley (Chris ‘Star-Lord’ Pratt) only has fleeting memories.

So when they get their hands on a large wand that used to belong to their Dad, a magic spell will allow them to bring him back for one day. The only problem is the magical gem in the wand exploded before the spell was complete, leaving the boys with just the ‘bottom half’ of their father.

Realising the spell has already started, they have to call on Barley’s role-playing game super-fan experience to try and locate another gem – to allow them to spend time with a ‘complete’ version of their Dad before the 24 hours are up.

And what ensues ends up being a journey of self-discovery for all three of them – with some truly heartwarming moments dotted in, in true Pixar style.

The only problem is they arguably don’t come along with as much regularity as in their previous films – same for humorous interludes too – which leaves this just a little lacking compared to Pixar’s extremely high standards.

Which isn’t to say by a long shot that this isn’t a thoroughly watchable adventure (it always is), but just in rating films in the Disney/Pixar pantheon – this would probably come towards the bottom end of the scale.

But with some spell-binding moments this is still a little gem – that intermittently shines bright.

ESP Rating: 3.5/5

Gavin Miller

Voice Cast: Tom Holland, Chris Pratt, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Octavia Spencer, Tracey Ullman & John Ratzenberger

Running Time: 1 Hr 42 Mins

Director: Dan Scanlon

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