Review: Ballerina (2016)

Ballerina (2016)

Directed by: Eric Summer, Eric Warin | 89 minutes | animation, adventure | Dutch voice cast: Pip Pellens, Pim Wessels, Buddy Vedder, Robin Martens, Igone de Jongh

In the animated film ‘Ballerina’, Felicie and Vincent live in an orphanage somewhere in Brittany, on the French coast. They dream of a life outside the gates of the orphanage and ‘escape’ is a daily thought. Felicie would like to become a ballet dancer, Vincent would like to further develop his talents as an inventor. One day they get their chance, and after a thrilling chase, the two manage to get to Paris, the city where Felicie wants to go to a dance school.

In Paris, Felicie and Vincent soon lose each other, but Felicie befriends a limp
walking cleaner, Odette. At Odette’s employer, Mme Le Haut, she intercepts a letter intended for his daughter Camille, a spoiled bitch who also wants to become a ballet dancer and with whom Felicie immediately gets into trouble. With this letter Felicie Camilles obtains a place in the ballet class of the Opéra, with a famous choreographer, Louis Merante. A lot depends on it, there is a free spot in the performance of The Nutcracker. Of course Felicies’ deception comes true and what happened in Odette’s past is no surprise to the advanced film viewer. The unoriginality extends further with ‘Karate Kid’-esque training sessions, a love triangle, the eternal social status and opportunity equation, and a broken music box, which holds the key to Felicies’ parentage.

And yet ‘Ballerina’ is by no means a bad production. The story is told with speed and the
animation is provided. Felicie isn’t the usual pretty girl in the lead role, but she blunders a bit and doesn’t always look her best as a result. It is clear that this is again inspired by Anna from ‘Frozen’, but it does work here.

‘Ballerina’ is set at the end of the nineteenth century and that produces many special pictures. The Eiffel Tower is still under construction, and as Vincent develops close connections with its builder, there are some amusing finds later in the film (although not historically accurate). The Parisian setting offers an absolute added value for the story. Other than that, there’s nothing startling about this formula film. Great viewing for the young target group, but the adult viewer has seen everything before and better.

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