As an adolescent, this was a strange & nightmarish fantasia that thrilled on a level of imagery & imagination. A few years on & it now seems empty & inappropriate. Putting young children in situations of clear distress to serve a flimsy narrative is irresponsible. Likewise, the central relationship unquestioningly flirts with suggestions of paedophilia. The whole thing feels insensitive; reducing people to objects.
As a story it hangs together very sloppily, but luckily some of the performances and most of the camerawork is interesting enough to keep it compelling throughout. Highly flawed but still worth watching for novelty's sake.
I wanted to cut this film up into small bite sized bits and eat them for months. Every frame is sumptuously detailed with breathtaking visuals. This was my introduction to Ron Perlman having not seen Beauty and the Beast. Judith Vittet turns in one of the best child performances I've ever seen.
It's like a cartoon come to life. The visuals are nothing short of stunning; they burst with color and life and the framing and camera work is always inspired. I love the world that was created. The downfall is that the story, while it is emotional and has moments of great beauty, never really hooked me in completely. It felt like it was secondary to the visuals. Overall, though, a thoroughly enjoyable film.
3.5 stars. I was rather seduced by it as a teenager, but it's rather soured in my mind with memory... as another reviewer notes, there *is* something unsavoury about it. I feel like my sensibilities would general lead me to favour the grotesquerie of 'Lost Children' over the sentimentality of 'Amélie', but I know which one I'd rather re-watch. Maybe if I didn't have OCD I'd relate to Amélie less & enjoy this more...
While this intriguing and peculiar world allows its vigorous and bipolar story to flow nicely, it is not exactly inviting. Plus, it's a disgrace that its story seldom shows its heart as it could've had.
Expensive looking demo reel of '90s CGI, hell-bent to out-pomp Terry Gilliam. The narrative tries to thematize its own lack of soul through an assortment of dark comicbook tropes, with no payoff. Unsavoury hints of paedophilia and signs of child mistreatment during production make it a real stinker.