Ernest and Celestine
This review first appeared in the Sunday Star-Times, 6th July 2014
Now, this really is the perfect school holiday movie. And this time, when we say “for adults and children alike”, we don’t mean saucy in-jokes for the oldies and slapstick comedy for the youngsters – we mean a perfectly-pitched tale of unlikely friendship which is beautifully drawn and completely captivating.
The French animation which was a hit at last year’s film festival has been Americanised for its worldwide release (so young readers needn’t battle with subtitles) but thankfully nothing of its original charm is lost.
Forest Whitaker’s gravelly voice evokes Ernest, a grumpy bear who strikes up an unexpected friendship with a cute but gutsy wee mouse, Celestine (voiced by cute but gutsy Mackenzie Foy from the Twilight finale). As the pair get in and out of scrapes, on the run from the law (both ursine and rodent), the jaunty soundtrack is the perfect accompaniment to the visual feast of touchingly old-fashioned watercolour animation. It’s a refreshing change from the current style of cartoon which tries to make everything look so real it may as well be live-action. Audiences both young and old are guaranteed to be enchanted.