- 1h 32m
Sixteen-year-old Georgia Nolan dreams of being the world's first-ever female firefighter. When a mysterious arsonist starts burning down Broadway, New York's firemen begin vanishing. Georgia... Read allSixteen-year-old Georgia Nolan dreams of being the world's first-ever female firefighter. When a mysterious arsonist starts burning down Broadway, New York's firemen begin vanishing. Georgia's father, Shawn, is called out of retirement by the Mayor of New York to lead the investi... Read allSixteen-year-old Georgia Nolan dreams of being the world's first-ever female firefighter. When a mysterious arsonist starts burning down Broadway, New York's firemen begin vanishing. Georgia's father, Shawn, is called out of retirement by the Mayor of New York to lead the investigation into the disappearances. Desperate to help her father and save her city, Georgia di... Read all
Fireheart is the latest film from Canadian animation studio L'Atelier Animation who may not be a household name, but did score a reasonably big hit in 2016 with the animated feature Ballerina also known as Leap! In its U. S. release, earning $100 million worldwide against its $30 million budget. Much like Ballerina, Fireheart is co-produced by both French and Canadian sources, and like many films of this ilk it's on the lower end of the budget for this type of movie with estimates ranging from $35-40 million. Fireheart has gotten a very quiet release, especially in the United States where it appeared on Hulu earlier this month and doesn't seem to have much presence. While Fireheart isn't an overlooked gem or anything, it's a solid smaller scale animated film that I did enjoy.
The best asset of the film is definitely in its animation. While Fireheart doesn't have the resources and polish of something from Disney or Dreamworks, it's more than capable of competing against the likes of Illumination even with half the budget of a typical Illumination production. The movie does a decent job of creating a version 1930s New York, not perfectly but there are some nice background details in things like Times Square with various posters and ads that do feel like they're of the era. I thought Olivia Cooke and Kenneth Branagh were really good in the film and there is a natural chemistry that comes through in their interactions so you buy their relationship as father and daughter. And the firefighting scenes are really good, the arsonist scenes in particular are nicely atmospheric with this colorful smoke and a suit disguise that looks really good and even a little unnerving at certain points.
The movie itself is pure formula especially with its very Twelfth Night/Mulan type protagonist and all the humor that entails. If you remember movie's like She's the Man or Disney's Mulan where the characters attempt to act "manly" by inserting the word "man" into every other sentence we do get some of that here, and there is a running gag about Georgia/Joe's mustache made of dog hair falling off or being on when it shouldn't. The movie is pretty similar to firefighting movie Backdraft if you filtered it through the lens of something like Zootopia (save for the anthropomorphic animals part) and if you've seen Zootopia or 70% of animated films of the past 10 years you'll probably be able to spot the arsonist as soon as they appear. The movie's humor is mostly okay, it's not great or anything but it's serviceable for its target audience. But then you have headscratching moments like a character named Captain Neil of the NYPD who speaks throughout the movie in this exaggerated falsetto with mannerisms that feel like a less restrained Jack from Will & Grace that makes this movie seem like it's about 15 years out of date. I will say that despite this being a "liar revealed" story, the path they take doesn't go exactly the same direction you'd think they go, considering how often this story beat is often tapped I was considerably more accepting of it here.
Fireheart won't set any fires, but it's a solid animated film that can be enjoyed as a suitable time killer. The animation is solid, the voicework is decent (captain Neil notwithstanding), and there are some thrilling or inventive sequences in the movie. The movie does use some rather familiar elements with its central mystery pretty easy to solve even by the least jaded viewer, but other elements such as the conflict of Georgia's lie are handled better here than similar plot points in other films. If you have children who like action/adventure or firefighting this is probably a decent sit for them.
- Feb 20, 2022