Reviews: time to get sur les pointes for Ballerina
Directed by Eric Summer and Éric Warin
Starring Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler
Set in 1879 in Paris, a young girl from an orphanage in the French Countryside dreams of running away with her best friend and fulfil their dreams. Felicie dreams of being a dancer, while her best friend Victor wants to be an inventor. When Felicie steals a letter meant for a mean girl that will get her into the Dancing Academy she has to train harder than any of the other girls in the class. Through determination and hard work she gains the respect of her hard nosed teacher.
Being a reviewer you get to see some amazing films that you wouldn’t normally go see. The animations we see are either really exceptional or pretty damn terrible, and I found Ballerina to be exceptional in its own right. It’s not going to match Disney or Dreamworks, but it’s got a lot of heart and a huge amount of sweetness that raises it above the films that we usually get that are from outside the main studios. Even some animations that are from big studios, ahem, Top Cat, are just well below average. Ballerina will be a tonic for some out there, with a simple storyline of talent and hard work, that helps overcome where you are from. Those of you out there with small children, that love to dance, will find this a hugely pleasant film that captures the magic of dance.
The animation itself is above the norm for the non-big studio releases, the computer generated characters and settings will delight you in their realism. Though I have to say this now, that when it’s a night time scene the animation looks a whole lot better than when it’s the day time scenes.
The story itself is like a story that Disney would tell, the girl that is from a poor background dreaming of getting her dream come true. Meeting villains in the form of the Rich Mother and Daughter who think their position in Paris gives them a right to be cruel, and friendly Parisians who want to help. There is a huge cute factor to the whole film and you know where it’s going to go in the end.
Films like this are for the younger members of the family and it’s something to remember, that the message in the film itself is more important than the entertainment value to adults. All through the film I thought of my niece Laura, my favourite niece, who dances everywhere she goes, in private and in public, and the look of happy life on her face when she is dancing always amazes me. For me Felicie, voiced by Elle Fanning, is a warrior who does not need armour, nor a weapon, but will fight for how she sees her life being, and that is a great lesson for children.
So while this year has been filled with astonishing animation movies, like Zootropolis, Moana, Finding Dory, Trolls, Angry Birds and The Secret Life of Pets, Ballerina is a little gem of a film that will delight the younger kids in your family. With many films coming this December that will be focused on the winning of certain film awards in the new year its going to be nice to have something over Christmas to bring the children to that you can just sit back and watch them be filled with joy with. There is little more to say about this film, but if a 41 year old Star Wars fanatic is looking forward to bringing his nephew and nieces to see Ballerina then I think we should think about that more than is reasonable.