Director: Eric Summer, Éric Warin
Distributor: Belga Home Video
Duration: 86 minutes
Leap! (Ballerina) (DVD) – Movie Review
We only just reviewed the comic book ‘Emma en Charlotte’ about two girls mad about classical ballet, but it seems that this love for ballet is universal and of all times, as Félicie, the heroine of the film ‘Leap!’ cherishes the same dream. She too wants to go to the ballet school of the Parisian opera, be it in the year 1884, instead of this current time.
Félicie (Elle Fanning) is a girl of eleven years old, living in an orphanage in Bretagne. She and her best friend Victor (Dane deHaan) often try to escape from that place, but so far, all their attempts have failed. Victor is working on a new invention though, and sure enough, the next time they attempt to escape, they succeed. Félicie longs to go to the opera house in Paris, to become a star dancer. Victor on the other hand, hopes to fulfill his dream of becoming an inventor. Victor is quite clumsy though, and thus it doesn’t take long before the two become separated in the big city of Paris, when Victor falls off a bridge onto a boat that is passing by. They arrange to meet at the same bridge the same time the next day, but for now, they’ll have to do each on their own.
Félicie wanders around town, when suddenly she finds the place she has dreamt of for so long: the opera house. She goes in, but gets thrown out when the night guard spots her. The cleaning lady Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen) stands up for her though, and even offers her a place to stay. With the help of Odette, Félicie grabs the chance that crosses her path, to take lessons at the ballet school of the Opera. Victor gets a job as a cleaner at the atelier of Gustave Eiffel, which isn’t much, but it feeds his hope of becoming a great inventor anyway.
The story of Leap! is one that probably appeals to many, with a heroine who knows what she wants, and is quite outspoken. It keeps the story fresh and interesting from start to finish. Of course, a lot of focus lies on the dancing, which is portrayed in a beautiful fashion, with a lot of attention to detail, while also Félicie’s evolution throughout the film is very apparent. A nice addition is that, at the time this film is set, Gustave Eiffel was actually building the Eiffel tower, and you can see it in construction throughout the film. Also the building of the Statue of Liberty is clearly implemented in the film. It may not be much, but it’s a fun addition nonetheless, that makes the film a bit more realistic, while giving children a little history lesson. It must have been very hard to implement all of this into an animated film, but the characters, as well as the surroundings and the dancing look very beautiful indeed.
Since we are based in Belgium, we didn’t get a review copy with the English voices, yet we got to review the film with the Flemish voice actors. As we stated before, Félicie is a character who knows what she wants. Eline De Munck manages to express this liveliness very well. Also Thomas Van Goethem puts down a nice job as Victor, but the one that stood out the most to us was Deborah De Ridder as Odette. If we must say one bad thing, it’s that Félicie and Victor sound a lot older than they are, but that aside, the voice acting is very pleasing.
There is only one extra apart from the teaser and the trailer, be it quite a lengthy one. The making of will show you how the film is made, from start to finish, and with quite a lot of detail. From the first idea, over the first drawings, the choreography, the music, the animation, to the final result, you’ll see it all. Everything is pretty well explained, making this an extra that is certainly worth watching.
Leap! treats its viewers to a fun story about little girl with a dream, about hope and friendship. In short, the plot and the characters are very likeable, without it becoming too lame. The dance choreographies are beautifully handled, and are beautiful to watch. Leap! is one of those films that is fun for both young and old, and we like that just fine.