A scientist in a surrealist society kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process.A scientist in a surrealist society kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process.A scientist in a surrealist society kidnaps children to steal their dreams, hoping that they slow his aging process.
In many ways, the film was reminiscent of several of Terry Gilliam's films--particularly BRAZIL. However, once again, BRAZIL had better characters and made me laugh. CITY OF LOST KIDS was just creepy and weird but with practically no charm.
Now this isn't to say it's a bad film or that I didn't like it--I did. But instead of an involving or funny film, it was almost all visuals and weirdness. As for the plot, it sure took me a long time to even understand what was happening--and it seemed like I needed captions to explain the captions as I read along with the film!! But given the amazing sets and cool characters, it still kept my attention. I particularly enjoyed seeing Dominique Pinon playing a bunch of clones. I have liked this odd looking actor ever since I first saw him in DIVA and he was the best character in both this film and DELICATESSEN. His delivery and manner is just captivating.
Now usually in most of my reviews I give a summary of the plot. Here it's very tough because I still am not 100% sure what I saw!! It all involves an evil genius who was created by one of the Dominique Pinons. This guy spends much of the movie kidnapping kids and trying to steal their dreams (kind of like an evil twist on MONSTERS INC.). At the same time, some evil freaks led by conjoined twins are thrown in as rival baddies. In the midst of this, Ron Perlman (who speaks no French in real life) and a little girl set off in search of Perlman's stolen little brother. There's more to it than that, but really I didn't think the story was that important--it was more a chance to give a canvas to all the weird sets and characters.
Overall, I liked seeing the film but I never came close to loving it. I recommend it for those with an appreciation for the very weird and perhaps lovers of French cinema. All others, proceed at your own risk.
- May 18, 2008