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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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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.
BUT THE DVD IS NOT.
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 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 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 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 16 March 2016
The City of Lost Children has been high on my blu ray wish list since the format first appeared, but this disc delivers a crushing blow to my hopes of finally having the superior video quality this visually stunning movie deserves. Clearly, the transfer is identical to the one used for the US release late in 2015 as it suffers the same overbearing characteristic of being waaaaay too dark. To quote one review, this transfer basically gives you nothing but deep, solid blackness "for almost anything that isn't blasted with light". As this is quite a dark film to begin with, this essentially means that it's a little like watching a back light puppet show.

Is it really, truly awful? No.

Is it distracting? Yeah, kinda.

Is it heartbreakingly disappointing that Studio Canal couldn't do any better than this? Most definitely!

Audio is fine, extras are thin, but frankly none of this matters when the film is just so horrible to look at.
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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 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 20 April 2016
What an amazing film! This is so full of imagination and craziness that every moment brings up something special. What a delight to see directors apply their talents in this way making excellent use of special effects to create their surreal world. Very reminiscent of early Terry Gillian especially 'Brazil'. This version is in French with British English subtitles. I sampled briefly the English dub: the most that can be said that the voice actors were British not the usual broad American. It's difficult to understand how the film makers approved this awful transfer when the film should be so visually stunning. The lack of definition in long shots suggests a very old master was used. The film is full of black crush: this means extensive areas of pure black with no detail in them. Do what I did and rent it as the transfer is not worthy of purchase in my opinion. Scores: film - 4; blu ray - 2.
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