French animated sci-fi Astro Kid (2019) has family-friendly Gallic charm to spare

It may come across as CBeebies does “No Man’s Sky” or, perhaps, Nick Jr’s “Avatar” but there’s actually a lot to enjoy in delightfully vibrant French animation “Astro Kid”.

When their survey ship is destroyed while navigating an asteroid field, Willy finds himself separated from his parents and stranded on an uncharted planet with only the escape pod robot Buck for company. But when the local wildlife destroys the pod and their supplies, Willy and Buck must set out to explore their new home until help arrives.

Written and directed by the same team behind 2017’s “The Jungle Bunch”, “Astro Kid” boasts the same charming design and adorable animation style, this time applied to the flora and fauna of outer space. The creature design owes much to the likes of “Trap Door” and Illumination’s “Minions” movies and “The Croods”, with a dash of “Pokémon” and even Disney’s “The Black Hole” in Buck the robot’s design and personality but its target audience are likely to lap up its colourful cavalcade of cutesy critters.

Dubbed from its native language, the voice cast are solid enough, although you do get the sense that this could have been more of a breakout hit with a couple of star names attached, particularly in the role of Buck the robot but it’s a minor gripe about a thoroughly endearing and entertaining movie. There’s accidental timeliness to the story that will likely speak to youngsters who are missing school and their friends and in doing so may provide a degree of comfort and reassurance.

It’s undemanding, wholesome sci-fi fun for the little ones and in these long lockdown days brings a healthy dose of bright and breezily colourful fun into their lives – and may just buy you an hour and half’s peace and quiet.

6/10 

Astro Kid is available now on Sky Movies & available to rent on Prime Video.

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