So, it's hard for me to truly review The Triplets of Belleville, a French animated movie with less dialogue than a Marcel Marceau interview with Marlee Matlin! Never mind that this is supposedly a Foreign Language Film! In this film's 81 minutes there is a whole truck load of the Foreign and a hair's weight of Language. There's also more tripped out and potentially 'Shroom-Influenced imagery than Fantasia, Pink Floyd: The Wall, and Yellow Submarine all put together in one unholy whole. These things, accompanied by kidnappings, murders, nudity and the accidental deaths of lots of cute little animals all combine to make Triplets one of the weirdest movies you could see, and not for the little kids. That said, it still manages to be very engrossing and fun to watch.
After a Roger-Rabbit-Meets-Cabaret introduction we meet Champion, a little boy with a little dog who grows up to be a star Bicycle Racer (the boy, not the dog). While Champion has become a mindless athlete, Bruno the dog has become every bit as svelte as Jackie Gleason. He ain't missed too many meals, in other words. When a Triad of Gangsters kidnaps Champion and two other racers from the Tour de France, it's incumbent upon Bruno and Champion's Grandmother to give chase and (hopefully) rescue their boy from the clutches of the evil villains!
What follows is a near-wordless and infinitely psychedelic trip across the ocean to... is it New York?... on the heels of the addle-brained Champion and his sinister captors. Naturally, along the way, Bruno and Grandmother run afoul of three good-natured Lounge Singers (the Belleville Triplets of the title) who take them in and sing to them in their own gutter-instrumental and harmonized vocal style.
Perhaps the best part of this film is the music itself. The animated characters purport to be playing bicycle wheels, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners and other non-musical instruments, and manage to make them all sound pretty fantastic. The Oscar-nominated songs are fun to listen to and more inventive than your average Charlie Musselwhite set!
The animation, though somewhat flat and exceptionally unrealistic, is rich and exciting showing true caricatures of the humanity herein, allowing for the wordlessness of the script to actually work. The expressiveness of the drawings here speak a thousand words per frame, and are almost mesmerizing to follow, however there's also quite a lot of explicit, almost shocking, imagery. Follow the MPAA's rating of PG-13 in this case. It's nothing too shocking for your teenager, but if you've weaned your seven-year-old on Sleeping Beauty and Ice Age, Triplets will more than likely be disturbing and confusing, assuming they can sit through it at all.
The relative inaccessibility of the animation and the lack of dialogue might bore some and enthrall others. It reminds me of some of the teenage chemical influenced jaunts into Kung Fu, and The Wall that we used to take. Make no mistake, this is a movie you have to watch to get. It's fast paced and almost completely silent. You can't leave the room to make a sandwich and expect to know what the hell is going on when you get back! There's an audience for this film, and it's going to increase as time goes on, but the taste for this film honestly depends on yours. It might not be for everybody, but it is well made and interesting!
Three and a Half Stars out of Five for a very, very weird movie called Les Triplettes de Belleville! It's hard to say who will and won't fall into the audience for this film, but it's definitely easy to say that it's worth a try! It's also inspiring to all the aspiring musicians out there who can't seem to catch a break! This movie would have you believe that all you need is a Salvage Yard and you've got an Orchestra. I'm trying it, man... then maybe I can quit this evil, corporate, sinister day job... and write my own positive reviews too! Dare to dream! Voyez-vous dans la prochaine bobine!
I'm vaguely more verbose than this film...
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