The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island Image

The three directors- Anna Chi, Daniel Chuba, and Mark A.Z. Dippé- don’t rush anything, just letting the camera observe the characters and their resourcefulness. During a severe storm one night, it is discovered that the roof leaks in certain spots, including onto Benny’s bed. After moving the youngest of them to Henry’s bed, they set up buckets and pots to prevent too much water damage. The next day, they rework the roof themselves to ensure the leaks are gone.

While walking along the beach to either end of the island, they are collecting seashells, seaweed, and other beach specific items. They decide to open a museum in the upstairs of the vacation home. To accurately categorize each piece, Joe brings them encyclopedias and books about the beach’s wildlife and fauna. Seeing their earnest endeavor come to fruition is rather rewarding. On occasion, danger does come into play, such as when the rising tide threatens to trap them all in a cave. The siblings still keep a level head and don’t panic, so that same leisurely attitude remains intact.

“…the plot isn’t the point, it is the characters’ earnestness and their belief in the underlying goodness of everyone…”

The animation is lacking in texture but no worse than something on Disney Junior. The cinematography utilizes a lot of crane and dolly shots to pull the audience into the world. The voice work from the talented cast is solid, with DeHaan especially delivering a heartfelt performance from a tricky role. Also, Joey King brings a sensitivity and energy to her character that hits all the right notes.

For The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island, the plot isn’t the point, it is the characters’ earnestness and their belief in the underlying goodness of everyone they meet. That is an exceptional lesson to teach children. It is told with talent and heart that do the books justice.

The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island (2018)

Directed: Anna Chi, Daniel Chuba, Mark A.Z. Dippé


Starring: Jaden Sand, Joey King, Martin Sheen, JK Simmons, Talitha Bateman, Dane Dehaan, Griffin Gluck, Stephen Stanton, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island Image

"…The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island"

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