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‘Hundreds of Beavers’ review: A little bit Mr. Bean, a little bit Looney Toons, somehow Moonraker at the end

I would characterize the catalogue of modern live-action remakes of animated classics as largely ill-considered. The medium itself adds so much artistic expression that, in general, I’ve found is not replaced by something equally charming in the adaptation. So much so that they often feel like a step back from the original. I’m thrilled to report that Hundreds of Beavers provides a compelling example of how to take animation into the real world.

It’s not an adaptation, but is so reverent to a slew of properties and comic stylings that the love and respect is so immediately apparent. There’s a little Wile E. Coyote (which could not come at a better time as WB is in the process of deleting their first-party offering as I write this), there’s some Buster Keaton, there’s an action scene at the end that calls to mind James Bond in Moonraker of all his movies. It’s shot in black and white, it’s a silent movie, there’s a full-on production number at the beginning to establish the cidermaker cum fur trapper. It’s a laundry list of things that I could have never imagined working together, and yet it flies higher than the cider barrel rocket the beavers in the movie build.

Hundreds of Beavers is a high-wire act. To get you to buy into this monochrome wonderland populated with mascot-sized animals and a beaver space program everything is meticulously planned. It’s a highwire act that threatens to plummet to an untimely demise at any moment, and you hold your breath thinking ‘surely it must’. But instead you use that breath to laugh.

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