Starring: Mckenna Grace, Viola Davis, Allison Janney
Director: Bert & Bertie (Katie Ellwood, Amber Templemore-Finlayson)
Running Time: 94 mins
Troop Zero is an American film about a group of young misfits who club together to form a scouts’ troop, aiming to become the lucky winners of a competition to have a recording of their voices sent into outer space.
A quirky tale of kids aiming high in their scouts’ troop, Troop Zero isn’t the world’s most original film, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a delightful watch. Sweet and heartwarming with a dash of inspiring drama throughout, this is a really lovely movie that blends engaging characters with upbeat and pleasant emotion.
While it’s never quite on the offbeat or surprisingly touching level of the likes of Moonrise Kingdom, Troop Zero is an impressively likable watch that’s appropriate for younger viewers, and just as captivating for adults.
It’s not an ode to the nostalgia of childhood as you may expect, but it’s a film that really engrosses you in the lives of its characters, from its ambitious young misfits to a handful of surprisingly complex adult characters, particularly in the form of Viola Davis.
In that, Troop Zero isn’t just a throwaway, Disney-esque kids’ movie, but a genuinely engaging comedy-drama, brought to life with both sobering drama and wonderfully heartwarming emotion, not to mention a collection of great performances.
Viola Davis stars in the lead adult role as the woman who seeks to help a group of children achieve their dreams, but is troubled by failures in her own past. Throughout, Davis does a great job of blending a warm, almost motherly quality with genuine gravitas, and while the film’s main focus is squarely on the fates of the children, she proves an enthralling supporting lead throughout.
But the real standout here is young Mckenna Grace, who is an absolute joy as Christmas Flint, the young misfit with dreams of speaking to aliens and travelling to outer space. Not only is she utterly adorable throughout, but also holds her own against legendary actors like Viola Davis in the film’s more dramatic moments, impressing with engrossing emotional resonance alongside her boundless lovability.
Add all that together, and Troop Zero is an effortlessly likable film, with pleasant humour and engaging drama across the board. It’s not a purely easy-going watch, and impresses with engaging and complex emotion at times throughout.
However, it’s a wonderfully sweet, kind-hearted and uplifting tale of big dreams and doing what you love. It may not be the touchingly nostalgic tale to childhood it perhaps could have been, but with charisma, laughs and a big heart all the way through, it’s a film that will easily put a smile on your face, and that’s why I’m giving Troop Zero a 7.5 overall.