Thursday, April 13, 2017

'Leap!' (a.k.a. 'Ballerina') Is an Okay Girl-Pursuing-Her-Dream Animated Film

Leap!, originally titled as Ballerina, is an animated film about a poor, orphan girl named Félicie (Elle Fanning) who is passionate of dancing despite having no formal training.  After escaping from the orphanage with her best friend Victor (originally voiced by Dane DeHaan, to be voiced by Nat Wolff in the American release), an aspiring inventor, she roams Paris until she stumbles upon a mysterious cleaning woman with a limp named Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen), who eventually becomes her mentor.  In order to pursue her dreams, she pretends to be the child of a wealthy family in order to get into the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet.

The movie is okay in general.  It has good-to-look-at animation and a fairly entertaining narrative.  But it’s basically your run-of-the-mill, by-the-numbers, rags-to-riches, girl-pursuing-her-dream storyline.  It has some cool dance scenes, but nothing truly spectacular.  But by not expecting much from it, there are very few things to be bothered about it.
Except for the power pop music it has in the soundtrack.  It’s distracting and annoying.  It totally feels out of place with the film’s fin de siè·cle Paris setting.  And with Carly Rae Jepsen in the cast, I was half-expecting to hear “Call Me Maybe” to just pop out of nowhere.

Leap! is an uninspired effort.  Everything about it feels totally hackneyed.  However, it executes its clichés with adequate storytelling grace and pleasing visuals.   If its bubblegum-y soundtrack hadn’t thrown me off, I would have even gotten myself immersed into it and maybe liked it.

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