53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Just Short of Being a Classic,
This review is from: Les Triplettes De Belleville (Original French Version with English Subtitles) 2 Disk Collectors Edition Box Set (DVD)
If you're going to watch "Triplettes," watch the original French version--without subtitles, if possible. You don't really need them, as this is virtually a silent film, and what little dialogue there is is confined to announcers, newscasts, and the odd word here and there. I'm not sure if Mme Souza or Champion ever speak, except in the closing moments of the film. But the language is there, and the rhythms of the French original add to the overall effect of this charming film. You also need to hear the catchy closing song in the original, since the English version included in the "music video" extra is as awful a translation of any song I have ever heard, even a largely nonsensical one like this.
And of the film itself? It's extremely absorbing visually; in fact, you probably will want to watch it at least twice, to catch all of the little details loaded in each scene. There are dozens of brief moments that contribute largely to the film's appeal, even if the plot seems to go nowhere and feels a lot longer than 80 minutes. In order to appreciate this film--which is essentially a "search and rescue" film like the other major animated feature from 2003, Finding Nemo--you must accept it at its own leisurely pace, savouring the many asides and set-pieces (including a hilarious cabaret act performed by the titular Triplets on a fridge rack, newspaper, and vacuum cleaner) and seeing them as essentially a series of loosely connected shorts. The one hole in the film, then, is the central character of Champion, a blank slate who seems totally unaffected by the fact that he has been stolen away from his home and forced to live in slavery in a bizarre gambling sport. Not only does he not appreciate Grandma's considerable efforts to rescue him, he doesn't even seem to notice she's there. The film isn't really about him at all, which makes most of the last act seem superfluous.
But do see this film, for the marvellous characters of Mme. Souza, her oversized dog, Bruno, and the Triplets themselves. And see it for the great visuals and the fabulous jazz score. And if you still want an edge-of-your-seat rescue plot, watch Finding Nemo again.