Butterfly Tale review – kids insect story wants to take long trip south to Mexico

<span>Overnurtured nature … Butterfly Tale.</span><span>Photograph: Signature Entertainment</span>
Overnurtured nature … Butterfly Tale.Photograph: Signature Entertainment

‘Is that a butterfly fairy?” asks a confused seven-year-old who watches with me, pointing to the screen at the start of this Canadian animated tale. Nope. The purple creature with a humanish face and body, dressed in a hoodie, wings poking out of its back, is in fact the film’s rendering of a monarch butterfly. The film-makers behind this have really outdone themselves with their tackily revolting anthropomorphic butterflies. Still, if you can get past mutilating a wonder of nature, the movie is a harmless and rather sweet cartoon for under-eights.

Teenager Patrick is a monarch who cannot fly because of an undeveloped wing. His dad was a big hero in the community after pecking out the eye of a fearsome eagle (he paid the price too). But because of his wing, Patrick has been banned from taking part in the annual winter migration south to Mexico. Not this year, says his overprotective mum. (The film ignores the fact that the monarchs make their incredible epic journey only once.) So, Patrick turns stowaway, hiding in the emergency food supply with his chubby caterpillar pal.

The pair get discovered pretty quickly, and what follows is some light jeopardy – first from a tornado then at the claws of that one-eyed eagle. This is mild stuff with a few upbeat highly unoriginal messages added about the importance of being yourself and overcoming your fears. It’s an easy watch, but disappears almost without trace. The biggest pleasure – in my house anyway – was the discovery that “flutter” is a collective noun for butterflies.

• Butterfly Tale is in UK cinemas from 19 April.