Steampunk settings are at all times fascinating, however Poupelle of Chimney City provides the concept a singular twist. The know-how is antiquated, however as an alternative of Victorian England, the city itself feels extra like one thing out of a dystopian future story corresponding to Ghost within the Shell. Buildings are stacked haphazardly on prime of each other, with smokestacks too quite a few to rely blotting out the sky with their exhaust. This provides Chimney City a muted palette – all the higher to distinction with the daring explosions of colour the film bursts into in its dramatic moments.
The earliest instance occurs when Poupelle emerges into the streets and joins a Halloween parade, which is a giant impromptu musical quantity that doesn’t precisely go together with the remainder of the film, however at the least it’s entertaining! The second that basically sells the colour palette switches, nonetheless, is when Lubicchi and Poupelle by chance get despatched to the rubbish incinerator quickly afterwards. Your entire processing plant lights up with vibrant, psychedelic hues and the equipment strikes in nigh-impossible methods to facilitate a high-speed escape from sure doom. It’s visually spectacular, emotionally fascinating, and provides this movie an id of its personal. It additionally makes you surprise… in the event that they do get to see the night time sky, will or not it’s as wondrously drenched in colour as these segments have been?
Moreover the setting, Poupelle of Chimney City attracts you in with its immediately lovable characters. Lubicchi himself is an lovable child who works exhausting to assist his disabled mom and can do something to show his late father’s principle that stars actually do exist, however he’s bought some reasonable flaws as effectively. He will get annoyed with Poupelle when their plans don’t go effectively, his confidence is usually a façade, and he’s even a little bit of a smartass to a number of the wackier characters. Antonio Raul Corbo, a 12-year-old actor in his first anime position (you might know him from Brooklyn 9-9), does a implausible job infusing Lubicchi with wide-eyed dedication and a slight waver that betrays how tough this journey is for the younger chimney sweep.
There’s additionally the charmingly naïve Poupelle, who acts like a barely extra unhinged model of Baymax from Large Hero 6; Scooper, a beetle-like man who nerds out over explosives, talks a mile a minute, and distracts dangerous guys with enjoyable info about ants; and even enjoyable minor characters like a physician who solely speaks in outdated man wheezes.
The animation and voice performing are excellent right here. The advanced facial expressions (particularly on Poupelle, who doesn’t precisely have a standard face) and painted by hand textures make every character really feel like an actual individual, and the dialogue flows so naturally – even in English – that you just virtually neglect it’s an animated film. Everybody did their finest work to make this movie as polished as attainable!
All of that mentioned, there are a couple of locations the place this movie falters considerably, and most of them need to do with plot particulars and tonal points. Your entire justification for Chimney City’s totalitarian authorities is fairly flimsy if you concentrate on it for various minutes, and the villains don’t have a lot in the way in which of concrete motivation. This doesn’t hassle us an excessive amount of, although. For one, it’s a child’s film, so some plot contrivances will be excused; and for 2, the explanation why the federal government is oppressive isn’t wherever close to as necessary because the affect it has on the characters. Lubicchi’s dream endangers himself and his family members, a lot of whom need to assist him, however determine to toe the road as an alternative of risking the implications. And there undoubtedly are penalties.
The opposite essential subject is that Poupelle of Chimney City needs to be a slapstick comedy generally, however that doesn’t are likely to gel with its darker themes. For the primary half-hour of the movie (which embrace the aforementioned Halloween dance quantity and incinerator escape), it feels virtually like watching a Looney Tunes sketch. This tone drops off afterward, solely to come back again close to the top for a couple of gags within the finale – like Scooper avoiding troopers by turning into a human whack-a-mole. Do these off-the-wall moments take away from the dramatic storyline of slightly boy daring to combat again towards a 1984-esque dystopian society? We… truthfully can’t determine, however it gave us pause nonetheless. Our recommendation is to not give it some thought an excessive amount of and benefit from the movie for what it’s.