At the end of 1918 while civil war is raging on in Russia, antagonism is slowly spreading to the East, between the Oural mountains and Shanghai. Stuck between a desire to save what's left ... See full summary »
At the end of 1918 while civil war is raging on in Russia, antagonism is slowly spreading to the East, between the Oural mountains and Shanghai. Stuck between a desire to save what's left of the great Imperial Russia, and starting from a clean slate, old generals, secret organizations, and mercenaries attracted by gold, struggle to take advantage of the events. As Corto Maltese returns to Shanghai, he barely gets time to cross paths with his old friend/nemesis Raspoutine, and escape a murder attempt before being contacted by members of a Chinese secret organization called "The Red Lanterns". In the heart of violent Mandchourian horizons, Corto and Raspoutine launch themselves into a fabulous treasure hunt, following the tracks of the mysterious armor-plated train of Koltchak. A steel monster spiked with canons and machine guns, this trains protects the counter-revolutionaries gold, traveling through Mongolia, and! Mandchouria. While following the bloody trail of this doomed train, ... Written by
I think this is the king of all animation films. Pratt's "economic" drawing and his particular use of time are fully followed here. The action scenes are outstanding. The choice of the voices was accurate even if one could think that Corto's voice should have a mix of different accents instead of speaking perfect french. It is, indeed, difficult to get into Corto's world at the first try; but I think the film slowly starting, as in the original comic, with some kind of remembrance or reverie, an outside-of-time dialog with Bouche Dorée does a great work in that way. Anyway, if at the end Corto's personality remains a mystery it must be said that it is the same for those who have read the whole series: Corto is an enigma, and the films succeeds in respecting that instead of turning him into a simple adventure hero. Thus, the question "what is he really looking for?" remains unanswered. From my point of view, the difficulty of the film is not to get into Corto's universe for the those which are not familiar with it, but that it requires a minimum of historical knowledge. Indeed, some notions about the Russian revolution and the political situation of China at the beginnings of XX century are really helpful for the fully understanding of the film. In fact, the comic book includes some pages outlining this historical context; also, a map is as useful here as in The Lord of the Rings. In a word, watching this Corto Maltese film is as delightful as reading the comic book and that is saying enough.
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