Sam Meltzer’s review published on Letterboxd:
I appreciate the enthusiasm and passion behind this but it was rather generic and hit every single beat you would expect it to. I immediately grew concerned when the first song started as it seemed so sudden and appeared like a musical segment within a sitcom from the 2000s rather than one from a Disney film. The rest of the music felt the same way and I don’t think that the songs themselves are bad, they just feel implemented into the story in a very unnatural way.
It wasn’t just the songs, the execution as a whole felt unbelievably rushed and as if they had to storyboard this within 5 minutes. The beginning of the film fails to introduce any of the characters with any form of patience and you are bombarded with all of these separate personalities and history about this family/town’s magical qualities too quickly. I understand that it’s trying to get into the meat of the story right off the bat but it’s difficult to form any sort of emotional connection when the film’s pacing is trying to win a race against Usain Bolt.
It’s redundant to say this at this point but, of course, the animation is mesmerizing. The deep precision and beauty makes it undeniably inviting. Even if, narratively and structurally, this film doesn’t usually work, it is difficult for me to truly hate it when it’s so gorgeous and creative in its visual flair. Each shot makes me want to crawl into the screen and touch everything within this world.
I recommend seeing this film as it will probably entertain and charm you but it ultimately felt overly hasty and didn’t have enough of a unique voice for me to enjoy.