In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances.
With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, oceanographer Steve Zissou rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son.
In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.
Krank (Daniel Emilfork), who cannot dream, kidnaps young children to steal their dreams. One (Ron Perlman), a former whale hunter who is as strong as a horse, sets forth to search for Denree, his little brother who was kidnapped by Krank's men. Helped by young Miette (Judith Vittet), he soon arrives in La Cite des Enfants Perdus (The City of Lost Children). Written by
Ron Perlman doesn't speak French and was the only American on set. But he learned all of his lines, and delivered them without error. In commentaries and interviews, however, he insists his French was bad. See more »
The words from The Original that Miette remembers in flashback (after she receives Uncle Irvin's dream message) differ slightly from what The Original actually said, although the point of the message is still the same. See more »
I'm a fan of fantasy films. It's a mixed bag of a genre on all truth. Very rarely are there any great fantasy films. There are good ones or average ones that can merely get by on their looks. I do love the fact that fantasy films can paint such vivid and imaginative picturesque settings. As an example look at Legend. That was one of the best looking films ever made but the content of the film was not great. It was poorly scripted with hokey dialogue and a storyline aimed at 5 year olds, with creatures and effects that would scare the pants off younger children.
Now you look at the best ones and the rare ones that can be called classics with greats of other genres like Lord Of The Rings and in a more Sci-fi orientation, Star Wars. City Of The Lost C children is a French fantasy aimed at a more mature audience member, from 15 up really. It looks fantastic. The sets, the costumes, the effects, the cinematography turn this 15 million dollar film into something looking far more epic and majestic in scope. Jean Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro take joint plaudits and credit as directors, Jeunut more responsible visually and Caro for the character and story. This is endlessly imaginative and immensely enjoyable and is very quirky.
The story centres around a mad scientist, Krank, who is unable to dream, because of this he is aging quickly and is old beyond his year. He grows insane and has developed a technique to view and capture children's dreams so he can thereby inject them into his own mind. He kidnaps children from the nearby village and brings them to his lair, a king of oilrig in the middle of surrounding sea. He is aided by his brothers who are four identical clones of each other, unfortunately they all suffer from narcolepsy. Krank himself is a clone. His father who created them is now merely a brain in a tank and Krank was an unfortunate mistake who doesn't dream. The only clone who was right is an enigma called the original who has long since escaped the insanity of this evil lair only to be living underwater and a kind of insane junk collector. One day strong man, One, and his little brother are ambushed by Krank's men and One's little brother is kidnapped. Thus far Krank's captives have proved unsuccessful in his quest for a cure, because they all suffer terrible nightmares, partly due to his own nastiness. All this latest young victim responds to is food, he seems to have no fear and it seems he could be the one, just as long as Krank keeps feeding him. One sets out on a quest to find his brother meeting Miete, a young a troublesome orphan girl in the process. It's all good fun this film and while the story is simplistic it's a kind of delightfully Grimm fairytale sort of story that keeps your interest.
The cast are great. Ron Perlman is one of those cult actors who everyone seems to like and he has hit it big with the recent success Hellboy. He is a strong presence and unlike many musclemen of his stature he can act, something which has held him back somewhat because people have never really cast him as a leading action man, although in truth he's not blessed with good looks. The interestingly named Rufus, a Juenet stalwart is also very good as the clones, while Daniel Emilfork is excellent as Crank. Also good and a charming innocence is Judith Vittet as Miette.
Anyone who loves a visually stunning movie should watch this film it looks amazing. The sets, the impressionistic and exaggerated designs are brilliant. It is typically French in it's verve. This is a fantasy fans wet dream, believe me! ****
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