The Triplets of Belleville
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You've never seen anything like The Triplets of Belleville, a wildly inventive and highly original animated feature crowded with colorful characters and fantastic imagery. Kidnapped by mysterious, square-shouldered henchmen, a Tour de France cyclist named Champion is spirited across the ocean to the teeming metropolis of Belleville. His grandmother and faithful dog follow his trail and are taken in by a trio of eccentric jazz-era divas. The motley sleuths follow the clues to an Underground betting parlor and now the chase is on! Richly imagined, wildly inventive and acclaimed as one of the best films of the year, "Triplets is terrific!" - Richard Corliss, TIME MAGAZINE.
- Select scenes with commentary: Opening Sequence, Restaurant Performance, Tuning the Wheel
- Making-of featurette
- "The Cartoon According to Director Sylvain Chomet" featurette
- Music video of the Academy Award nominated "Belleville Rendez-vous" Song
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The artwork involved is nontraditional to say the least. The imagery is at once grotesque and strangely beautiful. All the characters are wildly exaggerated, either painfully thin or extraordinarily obese. The henchmen are like boxes with heads. The characters make sounds rather than speak (the cyclists whiney like horses, one small mechanic sounds like a mouse).
The humor is sly, the music is inspired (I also bought the original soundtrack); it's a fun film as long as you don't expect it to be along the same lines as Disney or DreamWorks. It is not for children.
There has been some criticism because the audio is 2.0 instead of the 5.1 on the DVD. Yes it would have been better if they had used the 5.1 track, but the multichannel doesn't really add that much to the film. The improvement in image quality more than makes up the sonic difference.
Want to eat - use some old impact grenades to kill frogs. Want to make music - pick up random items in your home and form a band. Want to win a bike race - train your prize stallion (I mean son) to ride like no other. That and more awaits you in this animated peak into chaos.
Very little dialog is contained throughout this piece. Instead the director chooses to use music and visuals to convey what is going on - and achieves it beautifully throughout. The music alone keeps you engaged and is worth a separate investment. The story, while a bit odd at times, is also rather fun, when you consider this is made by the French, who likely view bike races (Tour de France) as epic and heroic.
Overall, this film is certainly a great find amongst the countless duds that seem to have been coming out as of late. Too many poorly written scripts or crudely animated stories have been littering the shelves, but thankfully The Triplets of Belleville attempts to break that cycle (pun not intended).
There are some mild adult instances in the film (hence the PG-13), but nothing that should prevent most viewers from enjoying this deliciously entertaining animated French film.
In essence, it is about a woman raising her nephew, and as he matures she actively supports his quest to compete in the Tour De France. It's also about Triplets who were famous singers in the 1930's, and how they live in the current day.
They meet up when the Nephew is kidnapped and forced to compete in an offline betting ring, where the Aunt, loyal pooch, and the triplets work together to rescue him. But if you think that sounds like a common scenario, you would be wrong. They find some very creative ways to get the job done.
I found it utterly fascinating. It contained numerous levels of co-dependence, such as, co-dependence between the Aunt and Nephew, between the loyal dog and the nephew, as well as the triplets. Perhaps it's also a comment on our obsession with food, some starving, some gorging.