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3.8 out of 5 stars90
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 11 July 2003
Yes I agree with all the above comments this film is brilliant but the poor english dubbed version will spoil it for most.
The answer is to buy the widescreen video version, as this is in the original french with subtitles. But if you buy the standard version (like me) or the dvd you will only hear English.
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on 6 April 2002
Only 3 stars for a Jeunet film!!! Please let me explain...
THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN is a film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet the genius behind Amelie & Delicatessen.
It tells the story of an orphan & a strongman/whale harpooner who try to rescue some children who have been kidnapped by an inventor so he can use their dreams.
The film is full of wierd & wonderful charactors & is a joy to watch. A 5 STAR MOVIE.
The main problem I have with it is the English dubbing. Why no subtitles? It would be far better.
Also the extras are very sparse. You only get filmographies & a picture gallery.
That said if you loved Amelie or are a fan of Jeunet at the low price its worth having in the collection. Lets hope for a better version soon!!!
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on 11 November 2003
Having read some of the other reviews, I thought I'd add my two penny's worth. I caught this film when it first came out in the cinema and loved it. The imagination and the atmosphere were magical. Another reviewer's comment about the Brothers Grimm was spot on. But this was when seen in French with English subtitles. Excited by this I got it on video straightaway and couldn't believe how badly they had destroyed the film with really bad dubbing. It felt characterless and flat - no resonance with the film characters. I am still trawling for the DVD in French with English subtitles. It can't be that difficult. I had hoped Amelie might generate enough demand for this but I haven't found it yet.
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on 22 July 2002
This is a truly great film from the team behind Delicatessen, I loved it in the cinema I loved it on video and when it came out on DVD I could'nt wait to see it in crystal clear digital glory. I was however horrified to find the picture looked like a cheap Tiawanese rip-off, the sound was worse than my ageing video and to cap matters off you have to listen to the worst dubbing of a film I have ever had the misfortune to hear (the audio track does not have the original French!!!). This is beyond doubt the worst DVD I have ever seen or heard, my advice is don't even think about purchasing this disc wait until they give this brilliant film the release it deserves.
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on 19 June 2002
Created by the makers of "Delicatessen", city of the Lost Children is a visual tour de force, and a delightfully surreal fairy tale for adults. It is heartbreaking that all it takes to ruin the experience is the appallingly amateurish DVD version.
Those who are familiar with the works of Jeunet/Caro know that they put great effort into making sound and pictures work well together, a tradition carried over to "Amelie".
Someone ought to have told this to the english actors who dubbed the DVD. The voice acting is as convincing as a primary school play, and sounds as if the actors were picked up from the neighbouring fish-and-chip shop.
There are no extras on the DVD worth mentioning.
Avoid the DVD, but get the original on VHS (or laserdisc) or even better, see it on the big screen where it rightfully belongs.
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on 29 October 2001
First off, I have to say I have no idea why this film is rated 15. There is no swearing, no nudity and little actual violence. There are some disturbing undertones but only adults seem to pick up on it, my own children (aged 7 & 10) were delighted & entranced by it.
The film is very dark & gothic but with some suble european humour, the characters are suitably grotesque and the settings are wondrous & dreamlike. It is so far removed from Hollywood churned-out dross that any film you see after this will seem like same-old same-old. You simply never know what will happen next, the concepts & realised ideas are stunning and seem to have used the latest cinematic technology to visualise. Probably the best reason to buy this film is the rewatch value, there is so much going on and what with the subtitles (which are also a delight - must be watched in its French original) subsequent viewings reveal more and more. This is what the cinema is for, to stretch our awareness, to test our imagination & to make you believe that you simply have so much yet to see in the world. Imagination unbounded.
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on 11 July 2011
May contain spoilers
When I watched the trailer I was a little confused to what the film was fully about but the visual effects looked really good for a rather old film and had one of my top actors in Ron Pearlman.
When I first watched the city of lost children in full I was blown away the visual effects are amazing and very interesting. The plot is a little strange as it is about sharing or stealing children's dreams and the dream sequence is just random as hell with all them Santa's. There are some weird parts that are very smart in the way they are used such as the part where one and crumb are tied up by there arms and legs all around there body leaving only here head and shoulders with seagulls eating a pile of fish to try drop them in the water to drowned then the madness kicks in and is just amazing.
The characters are generally ok but some parts of the film are a little annoying to watch for me such as where krank is dressed as Santa and singing that is a little annoying till the record breaks where it is not so bad. And also the part at the beginning where he is having a nightmare and screams that is a little bit of an annoying one but otherwise the film is amazing.
I have read many reviews saying that the DVD is only dubbed and that made me question weather to buy it but I was in HMV and it said DUB and SUB so I got it and it is amazing in SUB but the DUB is really bad and the background noise is lower and the voice is bought forward so is not very nice to use plus the English voices don't seem to work at all and they got annoying people to do the voices.
Overall in sub the film is amazing
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on 3 November 2003
A visually splendid film with a very un-Hollywood perspective. One of my 10 favorite films, ever, 5+ stars. I could only get the DVD in Australia as a 4:3 transfer, so I ordered this version from the UK at double the local price for it's glorious widescreen - then was shocked to discover there was no French language option, rendering my purchase worthless to me. This DVD is recommended for those who speak only English and are illiterate. All others look for a better edition that offers both the correct framing and the original voices. This film deserves better.
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on 27 February 2003
Sorry to say that this is a 'me too' review. I saw this film a long time ago, with the original French dialogue and subtitles, and it blew me away. The acting is astonishing, especially from the little girl, whose voice penetrates the soul, an incredibly powerful performance. I don't want to belittle any of the other performances, which are just as good, and the sum total is mind-bending - you are swept away into a totally different, new, and fantastical world, which is by turns both utterly dreamlike and utterly real and engaging.
However, all this is swept away on the DVD version which SUCKS DONKEY POOP in a very big way. The voice acting is weak beyond comprehension. Did the voice actors never see the film with the sound playing? Where did they get these people? They are certainly not actors.
This is definitely one of my top ten favourite films of all time, but the DVD is one of my top ten cinematic disappointments. DO NOT BUY THE DVD! IT'S A TRAIN WRECK!
Maybe one day someone will bring out the PROPER version of the DVD. Maybe they'll put some decent extras on it too!
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on 9 September 2013
Note: I'm reviewing the Optimum Home Releasing region 2 release. If you're going to get this film (and it's a must for any sci-fi enthusiast, especially fans of dystopias, or just anyone who likes a really good nightmarish fantasy flick - it's basically the French equivalent of Metropolis) and you prefer to watch films in their original language with subtitles, get the Sony Pictures region 1 version instead. Both have the original French soundtrack and the not-brilliant English dub, but the Optimum version has ridiculously poor English subtitles compared to the Sony version. Some of the translations are so bad that they're just gibberish, completely wrong and meaningless, and they didn't even bother to try and translate the opening poem in a way that still rhymed. I get the feeling they may even have been machine-translated; they're that bad.

The only downside to the Sony version is that the sound is in stereo, whereas this one claims to be 5.1 - not sure what sound format the original film had, but even if it was originally in surround, it's an acceptable loss as far as I'm concerned if that's what it takes to get subtitles that look like they were written by a fluent speaker of both French and English who had actually watched the film they went with.

Additionally, the commentary track in the Sony version has contributions from both Jeunet and Perlman, whereas this one has just Jeunet.

One final note: some reviewers apparently dislike this film because of its direction and editing; its fitful pacing and meandering plot. Do bear in mind that the entire theme of the film is one of dreams and nightmares; I think it's quite deliberate and appropriate that the film itself plays out, not like a tightly-scripted thriller, but just like a dream, unpredictably lurching back and forth between idle, fantastical whimsy and tense, trippy nightmare, just as a good few of the film's cast of grotesques lurch back and forth between sympathetic and alien, endearing and terrifying. The whole day-dreamy, freaky-carnival feel will likely be somewhat familiar to, say, fans of Fellini, Gilliam or Svankmajer.
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