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Make way for the French(Review: The Triplets of Belleville)

"The Triplets of Belleville" (or "Belleville Rendez-vous") is a French animated film that came out in 2003 but it is wonderfully amazing even in a pub setting with a young man's head who blocked some of the subtitles. The film follows the story of a grandmother, and her grandson's dog who chase after her cyclist grandson who was kidnapped while he was doing the tour de France. The trip (which she made while rowelling, this grandmother is as fit as the grandson) takes them to an American-looking city where everyone is obsess. This is where the leads run into the Triplets of Belleville who were on her TV while her grandson was a chubbly little boy. They help her to save the grandson.

The story is well told with more visuals than words. We see how the grandmother helps her grandson train to the point that his legs are the size of her. How the dog still has nightmares about trains because his puppy tail was ran over by a toy one. We see how the refrigerate, and the vacuum cleaner are actually props and instruments for the Triplets performance. How she came up with a plan to save her grandson. There is even a scene where a man, who had just shoot one of the cyclist who fell off his stationary bike, began walking to the Triplets and grandmother while she was trying to take the place of a mouse-like little man to get under the machine that was hold her grandson hostage. You felt the tension with the help of the pacing, the close ups, the sounds and the facial expressions of the eyes in those close ups. Great stuff.

The animation of the film flows well and gives us detailed smooth movements, my favourite being the floppy stick-like waiter at the fancy restaurant. The smallest details are also a highlight like the grandmother always gentle shifting her thick glasses on her nose, or the mouth movement of the dog who is getting on in age. The way the different characters walk can make you feel their age and their purpose.

The story is sweet and alright, nothing too special but the style is the best the film has to offer. The shapes of the characters like the block of the bodyguards for the mafia man (he is the kidnapper), the browns and pale oranges and the unclean texture make it stick in your head.

It is absurd, it is funny, it is sad, it gets the heart pumping with some comic relief (at the end) but the overall tone is... love. A film worth watching and enjoying.

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