Just to be clear, this film is the same as “Leap!” which has yet to be released in the United States.
Synopsis: Ballerina tells the story of Félicie, a young orphan from the French countryside who has only one passion – dance. With her best friend Victor, who wants to become a great inventor, they come up with a madcap scheme to escape their orphanage for Paris, the City of Lights. Félicie has to fight like she has never fought before, she has to outdo herself and learn from her mistakes to make her crazy dream of becoming a prima ballerina at the Paris Opera come true! (eOne Films)
Starring: Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, and Maddie Ziegler
Writer: Carol Noble, Eric Summer, and Laurent Zeitoun
Director: Eric Summer, and Eric Warin
Running Time: 89mins
There is absolutely nothing new about this film, from its generic story, to its generic characters. Stories about anyone overcoming unfortunate circumstances and making something of themselves have been done to death but it is unfortunately a formula that works. Whether this works or not relies on how the formula is presented and whether we relate to the characters and their respective hardships. The problem with this film was that it did not take many liberties with this formula to the point that it just throws a new coat over the same basic story we’ve seen hundreds of times.
The younger the viewer is, the easier it will be for them to relate to the characters but anyone older will most likely find themselves bored. What did not help its case was the overly cheesy writing and its overuse of upbeat pop music which lost its effect early on. Because of its generic nature, a lot of the story will be predictable, even more so when compared to other animated kids films. This made it difficult to become invested with the characters or the story, making it feel like a chore to watch.
The best part of the film has to be the animation (produced in Montreal, Canada!). It boasted a considerable amount of color while characters had a decent amount of detail and their dancing animations were well done. The world was a little better with a greater amount of detail, depicting its many intricacies. Other than the four main characters, Félicie (Fanning), Victor (DeHaan), Camille (Ziegler), and Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen), the other characters sounded like various French caricatures.
The voice acting was okay but it wasn’t necessarily the actors’ fault since the writing wasn’t up to par. All four leads had great chemistry with the best being Félicie and Victor but we didn’t get nearly enough of them. The film was relatively short with a running time of under 90 minutes but any more time would not have made much of a difference.
Overall, this was a decent, albeit generic animated kids film with good animation but an unoriginal story and uninspiring characters. Kids will probably still enjoy it but not many more.
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