Home Channels For Kids Review: “Big City Greens the Movie: Spacecation”: Family Fun, In Space!

Review: “Big City Greens the Movie: Spacecation”: Family Fun, In Space!

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Disney’s Green family is blasting off into space for their first feature length animated movie, aptly titled Big City Greens the Movie: Spacecation. Continuing the adventures of the Greens from their series (currently in its fourth season, and recently renewed for a fifth season as well), the movie premiered last month of the Disney Channel and is now also available to stream on Disney+. The show’s creators, Chris and Shane Houghton also act as executive producers for the movie, alongside Michael Coughlin, and Anna O’Brian as director. The movie keeps in line with how wacky some of the Greens’ adventures can get, perhaps even more than in the series considering the fact they’re in outer space this time. There’s plenty of adventure, comedy, music and even some drama to be found here.

The story starts out innocently enough… the Greens are about to start their big family vacation. They’re all excited however Cricket’s (voiced by Chris Houghton) mood soon changes to disappointment when he realizes their dad Bill (Bob Joles) is taking them on the same sight seeing road trip they did the previous year. Gramma Alice (Artemis Pebdani) and sister Tilly (Marieve Herington) are fine with the idea but Cricket wants something new and exciting. While delivering more of their vegetables to the Big Tech company, they learn of CEO Gwendolyn Zapp’s (Cheri Oteri) new project, of using robots to farm an asteroid in outer space as well as opening up a space hotel. Cricket wishes this to be their new destination but they could never afford something like this. To add insult to injury, his rich friend Remy (Zeno Robinson) and his family are indeed going to the space hotel.

Cricket also learns that the farm-bots aren’t programmed well enough, and manages to convince Zapp into letting him and his family go and take care of the farming, as that is what they do best. He also requests to stay at the space hotel once they finish the work. He then tricks his dad and the others into thinking they’re only taking part in a simulation and not actually going on a mission in space, but they soon realize the truth and this creates some conflict between Cricket and his other family members. Also present on the mission is Commander Voyd (Renee Elise Goldsberry), who is by-the-book and won’t let anyone have fun during the mission. Cricket manages to trap her and freeze her inside a cryogenic chamber, so he can have some fun. He gets on the good side with his Gramma by offering her a robotic leg he found on the ship (her old prosthetic leg disintegrated during blast-off); this new leg also contains a plethora of gadgets which wouldn’t you know it, will come in useful later throughout the story. Tilly also gets a new recording device, to keep track of what she calls precious memories she hopes to make on this vacation. Tilly also discovers a failed lab experiment, a sentient gelatinous goop that destroys glass simply by touching it, which she calls Cookie.

Bill and Cricket seem to be on good terms again when Bill has to drive the rocket ship through an asteroid field made completely of trash (again courtesy of Big Tech, which launches their garbage into outer space). Once on the asteroid, the family has to fend off a bunch of killer farm-bots, who were mistakenly programmed to “harm”, not “farm”. It’s perhaps not a common programming error but makes for a pretty good gag and also leads to some exciting scenes, seeing the characters try and survive this encounter. The Greens manage to de-activate the robots but also accidentally dislodge the asteroid from orbit, causing it to be on a collision course with Earth. If that wasn’t enough excitement, there’s also a bit dramatic scene where Cricket and Bill argue. Bill’s had enough of Cricket’s crazy ideas which usually only lead them into nothing but trouble. Including this new situation they are currently in. It’s a bit more dramatic than stuff that has happened on the show by this point and it does feel somewhat earned, I suppose you can call it.

Meanwhile, on Earth, some of the other characters also get some sub-plots. Such as, Bill’s ex-wife and Cricket & Tilly’s mother, Nancy (voiced by Wendi McLendon-Covey) and their friend, neighbor, sometimes roommate and business partner Gloria (Anna Akana), teaming up to infiltrate Big Tech and try and help the others. I thought it was fun how Gloria was so eager to hang out with Nancy, considering her so cool and trying to impress her all the time. In hindsight it seems like an oversight on the show’s part that these two characters never really shared that much screen time, or had an adventure together. Gwendolyn Zapp also gets some kind of character development, as it’s revealed her big plan here was actually trying to get revenge on her kindergarten teacher, who once told her that growing vegetables in space is only a fantasy. It’s a pretty wacky motivation, but it works. To add to the comedy, the now senile teacher doesn’t seem to really understand what is happening anyway. And Zapp has a long list of other people she wants to get revenge on, presumably for other similar silly reasons. Realizing the asteroid is about to hit the planet, Zapp simply packs up and leaves for Mars.

Without spoiling too much of the movie’s climax, I will mention that at least Bill and Cricket are seeing eye to eye again. They’re father and son, after all. They both want the best for the family, they just go about it in different ways. Some of Cricket’s crazy attitude did rub off a bit on his dad as well, considering Bill is the one who comes up with a crazy idea to try and save the world. Commander Voyd (who was un-frozen by now) also realized Zapp wasn’t as great of a boss as she thought, and starts breaking some rules to assist the Greens in their plan. It’s not much character development for someone who was just introduced in this movie, but it works well enough and gets the message across.

Overall the movie is pretty entertaining and does feel like an extended story that could have easily happened on the show. The characters act like themselves though not all of them really get that much screen time here (most notably, Remy who is absent from most of the movie but still helps out while dancing the conga). Voice acting is solid; the main voice cast from the show returns for the movie and most of these actors have grown into these roles by now. Viewers should be accustomed to them, as well. New to the cast are Renee Elise Goldsberry, Jack McBrayer, and Astronaut Scott Kelly as himself, though only for a short gag. Absent from the cast is Danny Trejo as Vasquez, Remy’s bodyguard. But taking into account Remy’s reduced role here, and the fact that Vasquez is skilled enough to solve just about any problem by himself, it’s understandable why he is absent from this story.

The musical numbers are decent, I don’t have a lot to comment on any of them but it’s to be expected to have some songs in a Disney movie. Animation wise it looks fine, I didn’t really notice any changes from how the regular series is animated. All of these details put together result in a fun, engaging movie that should provide some entertainment to fans of the show, and to new viewers alike.

Big City Greens the Movie: Spacecation is currently streaming on Disney+.

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