Sutton Brown’s review published on Letterboxd:
Pleasantly surprised this film was good. It honestly hit me more than expected and I'm glad. The film expertly does its job at telling this story rather than try and be something different. It can feel really familiar at times and that's its big issue.
I somewhat wish they would have done a few things differently. The structure was a bit too simple for my liking. I like they captured the spectacle when needed but there's not too many exciting moments. Most of the sequences were good at most. I didn't really see any moments that were bad but rather didn't quite land. One of which is the implementation of the lesson. The script went over it a bit too much. There are a few moments that were really weird with the dialogue. While I really like the story, it became too predictable. The thing I do like is how it expertly captures the heart.
I think a big reason for this is it gives these characters alot of development. A movie like Dolittle failed to flesh out its animal characters and make them interesting. None of their arcs were good and their relationships didn't give any emotion. A movie like this did the opposite. The characters are well explored and each add a layer of emotion to the story. I love the direction they went with Ivan. We've seen it done plenty of times but I think they nailed his character. Maybe a few moments that were a little off but still really good. The voice work of the cast really surprised me. Not because of the cast but rather that live action talking animals don't always translate well. There are a few moments it became a bit distracting. I still think that people like Sam Rockwell and Danny DeVito did a really good job. I really was shocked how well Angelina Jolie voiced her character. I really love the direction for Mack. I really like the display of his desperation and his connections with the animals. His backstory giving some emotional payoff towards the finale.
The visuals were actually quite good. It was important for them to make these animals feel real and they did it. There still wasnt noticeably bad CGI but just a few times it didn't look as good as it should have.
I really like that this film succeeded. I think it's perfect for what it's trying to do. Even as it feels limited because of this. Really liked this film.