For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Graphic Novel Film Adaptations, here’s a review of April and the Extraordinary World (2015) by Rachel of 54 Disney Reviews
Thanks again to Vern of the Video Vortex for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Audrey of 1001 Movies and Beyond and she has chosen the genre of Movie Musicals.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of June by sending them to MusicalAudrey@movierob.net
Try to think out of the box! Great choice Audrey!
Let’s see what Rachel thought of this movie:
My choice for best movie based on a graphic novel is the 2016 film April and the Extraordinary World or Avril et le Monde Truqué in French. This film received good reviews (98% on RT) but it wasn’t seen by that many people, which is a real shame as it is a wonderful animated film.
The most impressive thing about April and the Extraordinary World is the inventive story. It is the first time I have seen steampunk done right on the big screen. Usually it is in disasters like Wild Wild West or The League of Extraordinary Gentleman. These films are style over substance and are too focused on steampunk and not the story. Not the case here.
Without spoilers the story is set in a world where the scientists are all mysteriously disappearing including April’s parents. Without scientists, the world doesn’t grow beyond steam power (hence steampunk), and everything is dirty and murky. April raises herself with a talking cat named Darwin. She is a scientist herself and is trying to figure out the formula that made the cat talk and what might have happened to her parents. One day she meets a boy named Julius and it starts her on a path to answers and adventure!
In a world of cookie cutter movies that all the feel the same April and the Extraordinary World is something different. There are a couple plot points which might be too different for some but I loved it. My favorite part is how unpredictable it is. Characters behave in surprising ways and the villain came out of nowhere and was very unexpected. I can see why it wouldn’t work for everyone but I liked it.
It is also a very beautiful movie with gorgeous 2D animation. I loved the gray charcoal quality everything had mixed with periodically bright colors of lightning or electricity. It definitely has a little bit of a Miyazaki quality to it especially with the design of Darwin and the focus on a female protagonist. One might call it Studio Ghibli with a European flair. In a world of CG animation that all looks the same this film is so refreshing to watch.
I suppose if I was going to nitpick I don’t love the English dub. They have big names like Susan Sarandon, Paul Giamatti, and JK Simmons but it doesn’t quite gel. I recommend watching the subtitled version instead if you can (I usually prefer that in foreign films and anime).
April and the Extraordinary World is an inventive film that is a breath of fresh air in the world of animation. I loved the story and world building most of all but the characters and animation are amazing. Give it a watch. It is definitely worth your time.