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Netflix Drops First Trailer For 'The Willoughbys'

Although Netflix have been in the animation game for some time, technically their first animated feature didn't come until last year's Klaus. All the previous films launched as Netflix Originals were actually acquisitions, including I Lost My BodyKlaus was the first animated movie to be funded by the streamer (and even then it had already been in production for some time). The next Netflix Original animated feature The Willoughbys is arriving next month, and the first trailer has arrived.

With an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA win for their first feature, their sophomore effort has a lot to live up to. However, Klaus also had a great deal of expectation behind it, as it had become almost legendary in the animation community. With The Willoughbys though, nobody really knew what to expect.

Based on the popular children's book by Lois Lowry, the film follows the four Willoughby siblings, who are made to live in the attic by their awful parents. Convinced they'd be better off raising themselves, they hatch a plan to send their folks on holiday, and embark on an adventure of their own.

The movie is helmed by Kris Pearn and Cory Evans,  with Rob Lodermeir credited as co-director. Pearn is also credited as writer, with Mark Stanleigh penning the screenplay. This is Pearn's second time in the director's chair following debut Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, but he worked in animation for a long time before that, winning Annie Nominations for his work as a storyboard artist. This will be the directorial debut for Evans.

The animation is produced at BRON Animation in Vancouver,  a relatively young studio whose first release was The Mighty Mighty Monsters.  This is their second feature,  following 2018's Henchmen.  But with Netflix behind it, this is going to be much higher profile.

The story looks like fairly standard kid's fare (maybe with a touch more bite than average) but it's the animation that makes this stand out. The character designs are very stylised and caricatured, avoiding the cute look of much CG animation. It also rejects the smooth animation of most high-end CGI big budget features, in favour of something that seems somehow to recall both 2D animation and stop-motion. In terms of technique, this is somewhere between The Peanuts Movie and Into The Spider-Verse, with a lovely use of textures that recalls Trolls.

The voice cast features Ricky Gervais, Maya Rudolph, Will Forte, Martin Short, Alessia Cara and Jane Krakowski. The Willoughbys will arrive on Netflix on April 22. Check out the trailer, below.



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