Studio: Image Entertainment
Director(s): Aitor Arregi
Cast: Albert Escobal, J.M. Moscoso, Jaione Intxausti
Genre: Family and Kids
Run Time: 68 minutes
MPAA Rating: NR
Common Sense Says: Odd recycling-themed story with subtitles and a few scares.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Glup is a short animated film from Spain, with English subtitles, with just a bit of cartoonish violence -- most notably, an incinerator who talks in an evil voice and threatens to burn everyone and everything. It's a strange story about a little girl who gets lost in the city garbage dump and befriends a few of the discarded chairs, teapots, and toasters living there. Beyond this, Glup does have the potential to inspire discussion within families about where exactly your garbage goes once it's picked up by the garbage trucks.
- Families can talk about the ways this film promotes recycling. What are Alicia and Tomas's attitudes towards recycling, and how do they put their beliefs into action with the old radio?
- Some of the characters in Glup dream of becoming recycled and reused as newer products. What are some objects around your house that were built using recycled materials?
- How is this movie similar to and different than animated films made in other countries, in terms of storytelling, characters, how subject matter is presented?
What's the story?
With help from a fix-it man named Tomas, a little girl named Alicia fixes an old radio. When her parents throw away the radio after buying her a new one, Alicia chases after the garbage truck where the radio has been discarded. She falls into the garbage, suffers amnesia, and ends up in the city garbage dump, where she continues her search for the radio while befriending a raincoat-clad detective named GLUP, and his discarded garbage cohorts -- an old toaster, teapot, chair, and mattress. Together, they take on Mr. Toilet and his underlings -- a plunger and a toilet paper roll -- evil trash who lure newly arrived trash to a nightclub where they are never seen again, sent into the flaming pit of the evil Incinerator. It is up to Alicia and her new friends to rescue the old radio, defeat Mr. Toilet, and take the toaster to the recycling factory, where he hopes to be turned into a camera.
Is it any good?
If you were to imagine a very low-budget pro-recycling Pixar film in Spanish with English subtitles, you'd be close to what's going on with Glup. Not to say that it's bad. It's quirky, imaginative, and strange. But it isn't difficult to imagine this as a Pixar film with all the mish-mash of dumpster-dwelling denizens (toilet, toaster, mattress, and Glup himself) given the all-star voice treatment. Just saying.And yet, it's difficult to understand why Glup is given the title to this film. It's difficult to understand who or what Glup is. He's supposed to be a detective, but there are no crimes committed. He lives in the dump with other discarded objects, but it's hard to ascertain what he is. A light bulb who wears a raincoat? A leader in the resistance movement against the evil Incinerator? It's confusing; couple this with the subtitles, and Glup will prove difficult to follow for younger viewers, especially younger viewers still learning how to read.
The Good Stuff
Messages: Instead of discarding old products and sending them to a landfill and an incinerator, perhaps many objects could be recycled and reused as new products.
Educational Value: Intended to entertain, but could provoke discussions about where your family's garbage goes when it's taken away, as well as discussions about the importance of recycling.
Role Models: Alicia is a loyal friend to the old radio she has helped to fix and make playable again. She believes in the importance of recycling old materials.
What to watch out for
Violence & scariness: Cartoonish violence. A little girl falls into a garbage truck. Personified objects are burned to death by a personified incinerator who speaks in an evil voice.
Sexy stuff: A discarded mattress complains of worn bedsprings, and another character says, "That's what happens when you live in a seedy motel."
Language: No profanity, but some name-calling along the order of "stupid idiot."
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: The antagonist, a talking toilet, is never seen without a cigar wedged between its lips/toilet seats.