Alex is a School of Visual Arts graduate with a passion for media, writing and animation. He writes reviews for film, television and games.
Nickelodeon had a history of making films based on their cartoons, or Nicktoons as they called them. Their movies are usually taken directly from the shows themselves and given a cinematic boost. Rugrats and SpongeBob SquarePants are two prominent examples. There are times when a movie based on a television series can be risky, whether it is Hey Arnold: The Movie or M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Aribender.
One animated franchise that did receive quite a journey to the big screen was The Loud House. The show was created by Chris Savino and focused on a young boy living with 10 sisters. In fact, the series was so successful that it spawned a spin-off series called The Casagrandes. It would be an appropriate time to make a movie about it. Originally, a theatrical release was planned. Due to scheduling issues and delays caused by the pandemic, the movie decided to premiere on Netflix. The timing makes sense considering there is stiff competition, not to mention that another animated movie based on a Nickelodeon property was released the same weekend. That’ll be for next time. Personally, I enjoyed the show when it premiered and felt hyped when the movie was announced. Was it worth it?
On vacation in Scotland, the Loud family discovers that they are descendants of a royal family.
A Middle-Class Ranking Story
For those unfamiliar with The Loud House, the original show revolved around a rabbit family and then was changed to a human family. Even though we're familiar with Cheaper by the Dozen, the concept stands out with its own charm and characters. With the idea of a family vacation is a cliche family plot, it is difficult to imagine how to write a story. In fact, this almost feels like a story to an extended episode or a television movie.
As soon as the family sets foot in Scotland, the story gets interesting...for the most part. The idea of the Loud family being royal descendants contributes to world-building, whether it's the town of Loch Loud or the royal castle, as well as supernatural secrets like dragons and ghosts. Those pieces of information alone are enough to make it feel like a movie. In addition, there are times when the movie gets action-packed and emotional, especially with the climax. Non-fans of the show may find it useful to see how the family came to be in the opening scene. As for the fans, there are a few references and callbacks to the show they are sure to enjoy.
The concept sounds interesting, but our main character Lincoln Loud also drives our story. It is at that point, however, that the plot becomes predictable, which I will discuss later. Some of the characters' motives are relevant to the plot, while others are not. Additionally, the movie provides some humor that is admittedly hit-and-miss. While some are tame and safe, others are worth a chuckle. The story has all the right elements to be a feature-length film, however, the execution lowers its status.
Standard But Updated Animation Quality
At first glance, many would mistake the animation for the show itself. Since this was supposed to be a movie, an animated film, they would be disappointed. That statement is partially true. I can find only two negative aspects of the animation: the character models look flat and the movements are limited.
The animators, despite the quality, went all out and updated the visuals in order to make the film feel like a movie, rather than making it look like one. The last movie that had a similar production was Teen Titans GO! To The Movies. The art direction is true to the show's style, which was influenced by Saturday newspaper comic art. There are even transitions that look like comic panels. Although the characters look flat, there is lighting and dynamic camera movements that help give the drawings more depth. The character animation gets a slight boost whenever there is an action sequence or a character becoming more expressive.
The most noticeable difference between this movie and the show is the backgrounds. It is clear that the backgrounds are more detailed than in the show. The main setting for the family's adventure is Loch Loud. The town is small but full of Scottish charm. The Loud family castle is also spectacular, featuring giant rooms for every family member, a banquet hall, a coronation balcony and a cave with a dragon. Also, the climax can be almost dark when the Louds face off against Morag. It doesn't go that far or dark, but at least it shows that it is still a film. In terms of mood or color, the visuals can change when a particular character breaks into song. While the animation may seem confusing at first, it feels like a movie once you watch all the way through.
One Boy, Ten Girls = A Big Yet Simple Family
The Louds are a simple, yet charming family that developed throughout the series. With a few exceptions, for newcomers, it wouldn't be enough time to get to know all of them.
Lincoln Loud is our main character and the only son in the family. Despite being good-hearted, he feels out of place because he doesn't feel special like his sisters. When he discovers his royal heritage, Lincoln becomes the new Duke and convinces the family to settle in Scotland. Simply based on those descriptions, Lincoln would be considered an unlikeable character, and how this story would be predictable. To his credit, it's not as bad as it sounds. Lincoln still cares for his family and later feels guilty about his choice.
The sisters are all described by one adjective: oldest Lori, dumb blonde Leni, rock star Luna, jokester Luan, athletic Lynn, goth Lucy, genius Lisa, twins Lola & Lana, and baby Lily. As for Rita and Lynn Sr., they are both caring parents. For this movie, they are weak individually, but effective when they work together, as Lincoln's obstacle course or as a team whenever any plan is hatched. Lucy and Lily are the only sisters in the story with a purpose. Aside from Lincoln's best friend Clyde, other recurring characters like Flip, Lori's boyfriend Bobby, and his sister Ronnie Anne are reduced to cameo appearances.
As far as movie-exclusive characters go, there is Angus. He is a friendly groundskeeper at Loud castle who cares deeply for Loch Loud. Lolo, the royal family's pet dragon, would grow bigger whenever he ate. But then, we have our antagonist Morag. She is the housekeeper that secretly wants the Loud family out of her life so she could have “peace and quiet”. Morag's backstory and the great lengths she goes to achieve her goal make her the most threatening character in The Loud House, despite its slice-of-life premise. With Michelle Gomez's solid performance to top it off.
As a matter of fact, the voice acting kept the characters' charm. These voice actors know how to give their characters personalities and a sense of realism. A few names that come to mind are Grey DeLisle-Griffin, Nika Futterman, Lara Jill Miller, Brain Stepanek, Jill Talley, and Jessica DiCicco. David Tennant shows off his Scottish charisma as Angus. The Loud family may not be complex separately, but together they are a charming family that fans will relish while others may have different tastes.
Nice and Tuneful Songs
Musical moments would occasionally appear on the show, including one episode dedicated to music. Phillip White composed the score for this movie along with various songwriters. Each song in this musical conveys the emotions of the characters or focuses on the mood of the montage appropriately. For the montage songs, we have “Life Is Better Loud”, “Now or Never”, “Loud Castle (which is an alternative version of the show’s theme song)" and “My Way Back Home”. For the character songs, there are “Ordinary Me”, “I’m Going to Be the Duke” and “The Duchess I Will Be”. Lastly, “This Town is Named For You” stands out for having a lively Scottish score.
The music has some passion to it, but whether it is memorable or forgettable depends on how one feels about it. Fans and families will definitely sing along to the songs after the movie or choose one song and forget the rest. The songwriters and composers did a satisfying job of executing the music.
Generally speaking, The Loud House Movie is a good movie for fans and families, and an average stand-alone movie at worst. Please allow me to elaborate. The movie is passable for non-fans, as it features a predictable plot, basic animation, and one-note characters. For fans, however, it features an interesting concept, updated and determined visuals, good voice acting, and appropriately amusing songs. Even though the Loud family didn't get the silver screen treatment, it found a home that matched its quality. Fans will undoubtedly enjoy watching this movie. The movie falls somewhere between the good and the bad Nicktoon movies. It would’ve been worse, but it had the right aspects to make it worth watching.