Daily post 01 Nov 2013 01:24 am

Earnest & Celestine


What a delicate and aweet title for the French animated feature of the children’s book, Earnest & Celestine. Adapted from, the book by Gabrielle Vincent the animated film takes full advantage of the soft and delicate watercolors. the deftly drawn pencil sketches and the wonderful care gone into the book’s illustrations. The images are beautiful, knowing full well that 3d cgi animation would not be able to carefully and ably translate these great features to the screen. Thus far they’ve got this book down beautifully and completely. It doesn’t even go in for overlas moving at divers speeds to make it feel like there’s depth there (I think I counted them doing that three times in the film), yet I didn’t mind.

ec2As for the Backgrounds I found none of them bad. Some were far richer than others, but all together they made for a happy blend, a really well painted product. The layouts were always simple and direct. When there were a few times I longed for something richer, I could only blame my own taste; it had nothing to do with the film making.

However, the story, simple as it is, is so poorly written, planned and told that the film is left with nothing but extraordinary visuals. There’s a gruffness there that comes off more as crude than as character development. And I was very sad for this problem. The artists really did do the work and got the characters to move with some feeling. It’s just that they weren’t there to help the story; they were just going through the motions.

ec3Of course this is just my take on the film. Perhaps I just wanted more and caught the film on the wrong day, or maybe I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I do think so, and I will watch the film again to make sure that it isn’t the case. I do encourage everyone who loves animation to see this film. It gives reason enough for 2D animation to exist. There is nothing in 3D they can do to match it and there’s no reason for anyone to try. The books, the characters are lovely.

It’s just those damned writers. We exist in different planes, and I’m sorry for that.



I’ve had some problems lately and your comments, though not being obvious about it, are letting me know quite well. I’ve had a lot on my plate lately – not a lot of it to do with animation (except that I’m not getting enough work.) It’s shown in my writing, particularly the depth of it, but also in the number of typos. Believe me, I could blame this damned keyboard with sticky keys, missing letters and slow speed. I’m trying to catch them, and hope that’ll be the case more often than not, but for now this is what it is. I apologize if this is turning any of you away from the site, but I do promise things will improve.


momoThis is the first year they’ve made it possible for us to vote on all the animted features narrowing the choices considerably of that we’ll end up with the expected 5 in the competition. If it does nothing else, it shows us what diversity there can be from the 2D films which are not the same old little puppetdolls we get from the cgi films. Rather than the cgi viewmaster look, we have beautiful watercolors in Earnest and Celestine, the expected look from the Miyazaki oevure, amd I haven’t even gotten to A Letter to Momo.

11 Responses to “Earnest & Celestine”

  1. on 01 Nov 2013 at 5:23 am 1.Pauline C. said …

    I saw Ernest et Celestine in theatre, it was obviously a very beautiful film.

    I agree about the story, but I think we have to keep in mind that adapting Gabrielle Vincent’s books must not have been easy.
    In these books it’s more like day-to-day routine, small events and you cannot make a feature film out of them.
    You have to build a more consistent story but also stay close to the books as Gabrielle Vincent’s family was being very clear about that.
    And it would have been a shame to loose the mood of the books.

    The script was written by Daniel Pennac who is quite famous in France for his children books, but I don’t think he is a good screenwriter. You can’t make an amazing script event though you have the best intentions..
    But I thought the dialogs were nice. Maybe they sound better in French, I don’t know !

    You didn’t say anything about the abstract part. I enjoyed it a lot, it was maybe a bit conventional if we compare it to abstract animated short films but it was nice to see this kind of work in a feature film.

    Thanks for reading !
    Oh and it was also the first feature film of Benjamin Renner (one of the directors), check out his graduation film “A Mouse’s Tale” it’s really nice.

  2. on 01 Nov 2013 at 5:34 am 2.Nat said …

    Despite that the story problems, I still want to see this film. It’s quite unlike anything produced in America for years.

  3. on 01 Nov 2013 at 12:26 pm 3.James Nethery said …

    “There is nothing in 3D they can do to match it and there’s no reason for anyone to try.”

    Hey Michael, sorry but as a CG guy myself, I strongly disagree. And I think this type of mindset needs to go away if CG is to advance at all. To me, telling CG *artists* what they “can” and “can’t” do just limits the medium even more.

    It is perfectly possibly to do CG that is not in the “plastic puppet” style of “Frozen” or “Despicable Me”. The cartoonier, more graphic CG stuff Sony and Blue Sky are doing in their animated films are steps in the right direction.

    Have you seen “The Painting” yet? I haven’t but the trailer looks great!


    It’s an excellent example of very stylized CG. Once again, from Europe. They seem to have the whole animation thing down more then we do here.

    If more CG films went in this direction, I think the “CG vs Traditional” debate would die a very quick death.

  4. on 01 Nov 2013 at 8:27 pm 4.Francisco X Camplis said …

    Thanks for the info how you’re under some stress. Otherwise, typos don’t bother me. Just do what you can until it can improve. Don’t change your critical commentaries on the animation scenes either the independents or the studios. However, I wish there was a blog that went beyond US-Eurocentric focus and included more of what’s developing in Latin American animation. Besides Spanish animation. Thank you.

  5. on 01 Nov 2013 at 11:47 pm 5.Anon said …

    Michael, you really need to watch “Wolf Children.” It’s a terrific movie. It’s in the run for the Oscars this year.

  6. on 02 Nov 2013 at 11:12 am 6.Stephen Macquignon said …

    The artwork is inspiring!

  7. on 03 Nov 2013 at 12:10 am 7.Mark said …

    wolf children is pretty weak–hardly an Oscar contender. Mainly for small children. The artwork is sometimes OK, but ultimately, it looks like every other Japanese cartoon.

  8. on 03 Nov 2013 at 12:58 pm 8.Teodor Ajduk said …

    well, it’s hard to satisfy us.

    Yes,story is to ‘european’ but on the other side we have forced ‘pixar’ formula.
    What is between?

  9. on 03 Nov 2013 at 7:46 pm 9.GhaleonQ said …

    Mark, The Wolf Children Ame And Yuki is not Yuasa, but it certainly innovates within the category “big-budget Japanese animated features.” Try it again.

  10. on 05 Nov 2013 at 11:39 pm 10.Mark said …

    wolf children wasn’t even SUBMITTED for Oscar consideration this year, a pretty good sign. It’s an extremely below average Japanese cartoon for kids.

  11. on 14 Dec 2013 at 6:05 am 11.cheap nfl jerseys big sizes 4018 said …

    from € 110 for nfl jerseys Certificate from € 110 for nfl jerseys Certificate

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