Nothing in this film is mere chance--almost everything we see turns out to be relevant. There is also little dialogue--most of the time, sound effects and music take its place, from the irritating squeak of a mechanic's breathing to the sublimity of Mozart's "Kyrie" as a storm rages at sea. Belleville Rendezvous uses the best of traditional animation techniques and modern technology to produce something sharply funny and beautifully composed; it is not quite like anything you have seen before. --Roz Kaveney
Soon, their quest takes them to a giant metropolis called Belleville, where they encounter three eccentric female music hall stars of the 1930s and do battle with the evil French mafia. But can they rescue Champion? A visual treat for young and old alike, this stunning film has captured the imagination of audience the world over with its unique blend of classic animation and razor-sharp wit.
There's humor to be found in every frame, the characters are caricatures of caricatures, and the imagery is breathtaking. This is one of those movies that you can watch over and over again, and find something new each time. The music and sound effects also contribute to an overall excellent movie.
It's sad, it's funny, it's moving. The Triplets of Belleville brings a new maturity to cartoons.
Set in France in the early 20th century, it tells the story of Champion, a young chubby-cheeked boy who is sent to live with his grandmother after the death of his parents. After trying a variety of techniques to cajoule a smile out of her grandson, she eventually decides that a bicycle may be the answer... her intuition pays off and, after many late-night, rainy bike rides among the steep inclines of the town's hills, Champion begins to live up to his name.
This is where the film really begins to get going. Shady mafiosa-types carry out a daring kidnap of Champion and two of his opponents mid-race. Their tired bodies are then led to a dark underground lair and the trio's cycling talents are used for gambling purposes.
Meanwhile, Champion's Grandmother embarks on an epic trail across deadly seas and through an even more dangerous New York City in an attempt to track her boy down. She has help along the way from three once-famous singing sisters who are now a little down on their luck. Their heroic efforts eventually result in an unlikely end to the tale.
The animation in this feature was truly Oscar-worthy. While some of the recent Disney/Dreamworks pictures have been very special, The Belleville Rendez-vous is in a different league. The animation is wonderfully dark and all of the characters are deliberately exaggerated caricatures - particularly the marvellous dog; the scenes involving his interest in trains are hilarious.
Overall, the film feels as if it was from a different age... one where the emphasis was on imagination and originality rather than cheap laughs and colourful fish. A must-see film for anybody looking for something with a little difference and panache.
Like Ardman, it chooses to make a charicature of it's host nation, but then goes some. France is both quaint and tiresome through the eyes of the director, but more viciously, America is a grotesque nightmare.
Whilst the politicking will keep the intellectuals amused, the real fun is the adventure. And what an adventure it is. Dog lovers will love Bruno, and just plain humans will love everything else.
If there is a genre, and a tradition, this film adheres to it with a final chase scene that is brilliantly absurd. Disney doesn't make this stuff. Because it can't. It's not allowed. And for that we really all should be thankful. See it, whether you are nine or ninety - it's a masterpiece.
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