Chuck is home now. And he has a story to tell.
Until just recently, Chuck was a shipwrecked survivor on a tiny island so small that five good sized strides would take you from one end to the other. Small bits of food helped him subsist—if you count seaweed and coconuts. And to his own amazement, he somehow stayed alive long enough to find his way back to civilization.
Now that he’s back, a woman named Grace has asked him to recount his story. It’s a tale that she’s sure is filled with heroics and bravery. But, in truth, Chuck is a little uneasy about telling it. He’s just not sure if anyone will believe him.
Sure, it’s a tale filled with tornadoes, volcanoes and icebergs: outlandish adventures that eventually led him home. But he wouldn’t have made it without the help of some tiny little larva bugs whom he befriended: bugs with a tendency to create havoc and expel copious amount of noxious gas. Oh, and there’s also the trained seal that washed up onshore, and the inch-high space alien that crashed down and took over the body of a crab to become the equivalent of a Crab-former.
I mean, that stuff sounds kinda crazy doesn’t it? Like, maybe, he lost his mind out there. But it’s all true!
Chuck just has to swallow his fears and get the stories out. And then hope … nobody’s offended by all that gas.
When out on the ocean without water, Chuck looks skyward and asks, “God, are you gonna let us end this way?” Immediately, a rain storm blows in.
One of the larva bugs on the island is described as a “primitive,” a Tarzan-like bug that wears a mask, totes a spear with her tongue (the larva don’t have arms or legs) and carves large totem-like statues of other larva bugs.
The above-mentioned female larva (oddly named Booby) becomes an object of desire for another larva named Red. He’s enthralled by her pretty eyes (the only obvious feminine feature) and goes out of his way to win her favor. They accidentally kiss at one point. (It should also be noted that since the larva have no limbs, they do everything with their tongues—from holding on to one another to scratching their larva backsides.)
Two Pollock fish meet, fall in love and swim out of sight from the camera to presumably mate. We see the eggs that the female fish has laid.
Thump, thump and thump again! Chuck is something of a clumsy individual. While doing everything from gathering food to building a raft, he is regularly beaten about the head, stomach and backside by lashing trees, falling rocks, raining fish or some other form of wind-carried debris.
The little larva are also regularly the victims of some beak-snapping bird or saw-wielding robot. They’re gobbled up by fish, roasted over a fire, hit with Booby’s spears, sent reeling from extreme heights and more. These larva, Chuck and just about every creature on the island regularly get knocked out, frozen solid or left to struggle from some kind of physical torment.
The alien robot crab fries fish with electrical zaps and zaps Chuck back to life when it appears he may have died.
The word “darn” turns up a few times, as do references to the larva as “boogers.” Grace mentions that when first hearing Chuck’s story she was afraid he was a “big lying liar pants.”
Red gets violently ill after consuming poison mushrooms (which opens the door for more gaseous shenanigans).
A larva named Yellow is a gas-passing machine and emits noxious clouds of the stuff regularly. But Red and Chuck get into expelling clouds of foulness quite often, too. Those puffs and explosions are smelled and gagged over and used to ward off attacks, set fires and give extra propulsion when needed. In fact, that kind of gasiness becomes the punchline for at least half of the jokes in the movie. Nose-picking happens once or twice, too. Regurgitation becomes the focus in one story.
Is there really an age when mindless pratfalls and giggles over passed gas are the equivalent of storytelling nirvana? You know, a single-digit birthday bullseye when a thump to the head and a brrrrap from the other end are pure gold? Maybe.
If there is, it’s surely the sweetspot that the folks behind The Larva Island Movie are aiming for.
If you’ve never heard of the Larva series, it’s a South Korean-based kids’ show about a stranded shipwreck survivor and his tiny buggy sidekicks that debuted in the form of short 1- to 3-minute episodes. Think of it as a poor-man’s Minions cartoon with a lot less, well, funny stuff.
Some four seasons of these bite-sized bits of bumbling buffoonery have led to this full movie for fans. On the positive side, there’s really nothing here besides the exaggerated thumping threats and constant gassy focus that would cause any mom or dad to roll an eye.
My advice? Well, if you and the fam do decide to paddle out to this little isle full of computer-generated silly tales, don’t go expecting Pixar. Oh, and anyone over, say, six or seven probably oughta bring a book. Just saying.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.