Monday 19 December 2016

"Ballerina" (Guardian 16/12/16)

Ballerina ***
Dirs: Eric Summer, Éric Warin. Animation with the voices of: Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen. 89 mins. Cert: U

Carefully positioned to catch youngsters who’ve seen Moana but can’t get into Rogue One, this serviceable French-Canadian digimation cleaves to the post-Cowell redefinition of the word “journey”: its heroine is a redheaded dreamer (voiced by Elle Fanning) who flees her orphanage to blag a spot in the fin-de-siècle Paris Opera. There’s a novelty about watching an animated character pursuing a creative career rather than, say, setting out on a quest with wisecracking animals, although the gendering appears altogether trad post-Moana: while our gal pirouettes, her strutting male companion lands himself a gig in Gustav Eiffel’s workshop. It’s attentively, attractively designed – with a real eye for the light hitting the buildings of a city under construction – but a shade more Black Swan in its DNA might have made the happy ending less inevitable and its pep less repetitive: the lyrics of its empowerment pop soundtrack (“What’s wrong with being confident?”) swiftly become indistinguishable from the spoken dialogue.

Ballerina opens in cinemas nationwide today.

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