This Karel Zeman feature was a co-production with Carlo Ponti's production company (Italy). It is assumed that Carlo Ponti's participation was basically financing. See more »
Hits every note
The Czech had a prolific movie industry in the 60s, profiting from beautiful shooting locations as well as a plethora of talent. Even among all this talent, Karel Zeman stands out. While he's not well known to the general public, his influence on filmmakers leaning towards the extravagant cannot be exaggerated - Tim Burton's, but especially Terry Gilliam's idiosyncrasies are derived from Zeman's quirky productions.
"The Stolen Airship" is a nice boy's adventure yarn with satiric undertones, which shines by its flawless atmosphere and seamless mix of live action and animation. Zeman achieved this by hand-colouring the whole movie - as a result, the live-action sequences have a beautiful pictorial atmosphere which blends excellently with the painted backgrounds and animated sequences, often giving the impression of colour lithographs and coloured engravings. Which fits the general mood of the movie exceedingly well, there are few movies that capture the Jules Verne atmosphere like this one (compare it to the Verne illustrations from the 19th century: http://jv.gilead.org.il/rpaul/ ).
Summary: While the story itself is just harmless (but entertaining and charming) fun, the aesthetics of this production make it a must-see for lovers of animation and/or Jules Verne. Not only highly recommended, this is in fact required viewing.
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