Spoilers are likely (Not like you frankly give a damn...)
It is the year 1910 in Northern Canada. The Inuit shaman Croolik (Played By Christopher Plummer) has denounced Sedna, Goddess of water And The dead, so he can call upon the Spirit of Darkness. With the goddess withdrawing the region's fauna, Croolik's village is suddenly threatened with a famine due to a lack of game. Our orphan hero Markussi (played by Dustin Milligan), along with arranged couple Putulik (played by Tim Rozon) and Apik (played by Rachelle Lefevre) set out to find the eponymous land of Sarila, where animals are said to be plenty, in order to avert the famine. Along the way, Markussi learns that he has his own shaman abilities, while Croolik makes it his personal mission to undermine the heroes' quest whilst continuously trying to frame his estranged wife (Played By Geneviève Bujold) for his survival and benefit.
You walked into this review expecting it to be negative, and while it is, let's first list of the film's (surprising amount of) pros. This film is admittedly better-presented than most of the atrocities i've reviewed; Christopher Plummer and Geneviève Bujold have clearly taken their performances seriously as an estranged couple driven apart by evil itself, while Olivier Auriol's musical score does it's best to keep the audience enticed audibly. Got those? Good, because now here comes the shredding.
Right off the bat (as pointed out by I Hate Everything), this film's plot is one of (if not the most) formulaic in the entire animation medium, running in a pattern that any small child can point out with ease. That's right, the film constantly shifts between the perspectives of Croolik and the heroes in a pattern that sees Croolik executing a step in his sad excuse of a "master plan," followed by a section of the heroes' journey, usually with an action set piece thrown in. Also, this film boasts TERRIBLE production design. Even about a film following a nomadic people in the far north, where snow and ice are abundant, the film's backgrounds are in desperate need of detail. The film's environment is very flat with little terrain that desperately cries for that precious detail. It doesn't help that Sarila, which is supposed to be the film's scenic highlight, looks like something right out of a CalArts film project. And while Plummer and Bujold do their best to keep this failed project afloat, the mediocre screenplay upheld by the poorly-realized chemistry between Milligan, Rozon and Lefevere still lingers behind their talent and holds them back from completely saving the film.
With it's exotic Inuit setting, Sarila looks poised to be brimming with originality, right? You couldn't be more wrong. The film rips two pages right out of the book of Dreamworks, those being The (underrated) Road to El Dorado And Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. Anything that looks "original" are actually sprinkled on from several other movies, such as Brother Bear and Ice Age. Plus, the film's re-branding as "Frozen Land" means that this film will forever be remembered as a mockbuster held back by a lackluster script, abhorrent production design, awful pacing, a formulaic plot and poor chemistry between it's star-studded cast, among other things.
Call me demanding, if you desire. As a critic, i should be used to this kind of mob mentality bullshit.