Dreambuilders follows a young girl named Minna (voiced by Robyn Dempsey). Minna is an only child who lives with her father. Daily, she is reminded of the fact that her mother left her father to pursue a singing career when she was just a young girl. In the present day, she also is struggling with other changes that are occurring around her. Her new stepmother, along with her daughter, are in the early stages of moving in with Minna and her father. She is trying to accept the changes that are in motion and even tries to put on a “happy hat”, but the biggest challenge is welcoming her new stepsister who is quite selfish and rude.
But Minna soon discovers a new ability when it comes to sleeping and dreaming. During one of her dreams, Minna makes a huge discovery and finds out how dreams are made and created. Thanks to a group of creatures known as Dreambuilders, Minna’s dreams are more like a stage set up with Dreambuilders disguised as people from her personal life. She also learns that dreams can influence and change people’s lives. Minna soon gets the idea that maybe she can try and alter her stepsister’s dreamworld. Maybe by doing so, she might be able to change her perspective on a few things, ultimately making her less rude and mean towards Minna.
Dreambuilders as a film is undoubtedly a creative concept for young children. When Minna makes the real discovery on how dreams are made, we see an entirely new world and the film’s creativity here is easily the part of the film deserving the most substantial praise. The animation is basic, but I still found it enjoyable for the most part.
The film’s voice work is questionable. While the voice work of Minna and her stepsister are perfectly fine, I found the voice of Minna’s father highly distracting as it just did not fit when combined with the look of the character. A similar issue can be said about Gaff, who is a crucial character when it comes to Dreambuilding for Minna. His voice was fine, but the character and type of voice used was far too similar to a well-known Disney title. When the Dreambuilders speak, the mouths and voices do not always match up, which was too distracting at times.
As for the film’s plot, there are some great ideas here, but ultimately, it is the characters that hold this film back. Key characters are not that likeable, including Minna. The parents in this film are also awful characters as they either brush off, avoid, or ignore core problems in the house. While the film attempts to introduce a sensitive topic, the attempted positive message was a letdown. Sure, as a kid’s film, there is some resolution in the third act, but it is so swift it almost felt like it was thrown in last minute.
Overall, this film certainly brings a great concept to the screen. Visually, this film is generally pleasing, particularly when viewers get to witness the world of dream creation. As a film, many child viewers will undoubtedly find the movie quite satisfying. As an adult, I found this film to contain unlikeable characters, and similar voice work to other animated films. The film also rushes all character resolutions which ultimately felt weak. Dreambuilders delivers new concepts to be sure, but these concepts are mixed in with ingredients that are far too familiar along with soft leads.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden