Johnny Darrell’s animated Slugterra: Return of the Elementals is a 63-minute episode of the Disney XD series Slugterra, and little besides.
It makes no attempt to distinguish itself as a feature film, going so far as to recycle the show’s opening credits and tacking on “Return of the Elementals” as an episode title. (This is presumably no problem for the preteen boys Slugterra is marketed toward, though it’s an interesting contrast with last year’s feature film My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, which respected its preteen-girl target demographic enough to be an actual movie and not just a retread of its source series.) After the opening credits and flashback-heavy exposition, series protagonist Eli (Sam Vincent) and his team of heroes must find the five Elemental Slugs before the bad guys do.
The world is a slug-based economy — guns fire slugs, which then do magical things, thus allowing for pew-pew-pew action without “violence” as such — and it’s probably not a coincidence that the slugs’ antics recall the Despicable Me Minions. There’s little in Slugterra: Return of the Elementals to interest nonfans of the show, and the sheer laziness would be more forgivable if not for the equally lazy use of broad ethnic stereotypes. But at least it’s over in an hour.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 30, 2014