Friday, August 18, 2017

Leap is inspiring, gorgeous, and will make you dream bigger

Movie Title:  LEAP

Grade:  A-

Rating:  PG, 89 minutes

In a Nutshell:  This gorgeous family-friendly film paints Paris with an incredibly charming stroke, created by the L’Atelier Animation Studio in France.  You’re easily transported back to 19th Century France.

I love titles that have double meanings.  While the orphan Felicie’s dream was to produce the incredible leap she had seen a ballerina make once, the film also encourages us all to take a leap of faith and hard work to make our dreams come true.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Passion
  • Dream big and take action.
  • You are unique.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re nothing.
  • Persistence, hard work, tenacity

Things I liked:
  • Catchy theme song.  All of the music was infectiously good and included a lot of lovely songs unfamiliar to Americans, as well as a few faves like “Suitcase” by Sia, and “Confident” by Demi Lovato.  Carly Rae Jepsen voices Odette, and also sings and wrote several of the songs.
  • The scene where Victor tells Felicie about his first day in Paris was hilarious.  Excellent animation stops and sequences.
  • Felicie’s training sequence was really cute and as inspirational as any sports movie training montage.
  • Elle Fanning voices Felicie, whose dream it is to dance in the Nutcracker Ballet.  Elle Fanning actually performed in The Nutcracker 3D (2010 movie).
  • Maddie Ziegler voices Camille.  She’s a dancer in real life, having appeared on Dance Moms in 2011.
  • Victor was voiced by Dane DeHaan in the international version of the film.  Nat Wollf was used in the American release.
  • It’s well balanced in comedy, magic, and drama.
  • The ballet battle between Felicie and Camille before the big evening performance was adorable and hilarious.
  • It feels like a European animation, because, it is.  Originally, it was entitled “Ballerina”, which is the version I first saw.
  • It was choreographed by Aurelie Dupont and Jeremie Belingard.  The dancing animation in the beginning felt a little off, but by the end it was perfect.
  • The film appears to have a deeper origin.  Director and writer Eric Summer also comes from Brittany where the story begins.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Some of the animation looked rushed and out of sync, particularly in the beginning.  
  • The underdog plot isn’t unique, but it’s still very sweet.
  • Most of the characters are thin archetypes.
  • Some critics don't like the fact that pop music is played, insisting it should all be classical ballet music like Tchaikovsky, but that didn't bother me at all.  I actually liked it.
  • Other critics complain that the filmmakers didn't do their research for historical accuracy.  For example, were there motorcycles in France in the 1800's as this movie supposes?  It turns out that yes, there were in the later half of the 1800's, just about the same time the Statue of Liberty was being built.  

Funny lines:
  • “Thank you Mother Superior.  And may I just say that you’re looking very superior today?” – Victor
  • “Who is that?”  Felicie (Elle Fanning)
“Rudy.” – Dora (Elana Dunkelman)
“From the top boys’ class, holder of the best cheekbones at the Opera award.  I love him.  He’s so blonde and shiny.” – Nora (Shoshana Sperling)
  • “How is that pick-up line working for you?” – Felicie
  • “I am loving your apron!” – Victor
  • “Paris!  City of romance.  City of Dreams! City of Romance!  City of Pigeons!” –   Victor

Interesting lines:
  • It’s when you’re tired you start to progress.” – Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen)
  • “Tired is for losers.” – Regine (Julie Khaner)
  • “There’s a difference between being ready and being ready to do it well.  That’s why we train every day.” – Odette

Tips for parents: 
  • This is an enjoyable film for all ages.  It’s funny, sweet, and inspiring.
  • Several fart jokes.
  • Your little ballerina daughter will be very inspired and want to see the Nutcracker Ballet.
  • I really like how the movie features two children with dreams, who don’t just fantasize about what they want to do, but are willing to work hard to achieve it.
  • No profanity.
  • Some bullying.
  • Some animated moments of peril.


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