I would love nothing more to tell you that “The Adventure Club” is a real gem that deserves discovering. But sadly this is a kids‘ movie that even kids might eventually fall asleep during. It’s not that the movie is fundamentally bad it’s just so bland and listless, no matter how many talented character actors that director Geoff Anderson stuffs on screen. And it’s sad because the movie tries its best to utilize greats like Kim Coates, and Billy Zane to account for the fact that the rest of the cast aren’t too good in their roles. I’m all for a film of this ilk, which encourages curiosity, learning, imagination, and wonder. I love movies that carry the aesthetic of a classic serial, but “The Adventure Club” feels like one of the many clones of “The Goonies” we saw throughout the nineties that would often pop up on cable inexplicably.
The writers just create a broadly sketched maguffin, create a trio of wide eyed prepubescent heroes and see where the movie takes us. The bad news is that the movie doesn’t take us much of anywhere, which is anti-climactic considering this is a movie called “The Adventure Club.” Ricky Young is a lover of exploration and learning who is still reeling from the death of his grandfather. After forming the adventure club, he’s looking for an actual adventure to go on, and discovers a key in his grandfather‘s office. From there, he finds a puzzle box that holds mystical properties including wish granting. Meanwhile Ricky’s step dad Martin is being blackmailed by ex-con Langley, a devious man who wants the puzzle box for sinister purposes.
As Ricky and his pair of fellow adventurers run around their town looking for clues, and trying to uncover the box‘s magical guidelines, including taking wishes and souring them, Langley is on their tail anxious to claim it. “The Adventure Club” feels a lot like it wanted to be a successor to “The Goonies.” It props up a lot of the same plot points including a town with a poor economy, a pair of struggling parents, and two fellow wide eyed explorers, one of whom is a tech nerd. One really good element I can pick out from the film is that these kids are addicted to learning, and spend a lot of the film riding bikes, running around, and opening their minds.
The writers inject a purposely anachronistic aesthetic, so most of the characters are rarely seen on cell phones or even the internet, for that matter. I appreciate the intent behind “The Adventure Club,” but the movie‘s lackluster energy and half baked narrative make it a chore to sit through. I suspect even prepubescent movie goers with a love of adventures and exploring might find this pretty exhausting to finish.
Now on VOD and in Select Theaters in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City, Orange County, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Tampa.