Playing at the Chicago Critics
Film Festival May 7, 12pm (tickets)
While not everyone has read the original books by Belgian children’s author Gabrielle Vincent or saw the first movie over a decade ago, Ernest and Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia stands very well on its own. It also has an undeniable charm, and a presentation worthy of Hayao Miyazaki‘s watercolour technique back when films were made by hand.
There’s even some humour which is endearingly familiar. It’s as though this new movie is tapping into my love for Sherlock Hound. This Italian-Japanese series also used a similar approach to misfit antics, and as for what the law enforcement represents, they’re just as much like the keystone cops. They enforce a steadfast rule in the town the bear (Lambert Wilson) and mouse (Pauline Brunner) visit. The actors reprise their roles like no time has passed. That is, nothing has really changed in their relationship since the first film from ten years ago.
While they’re there on a mission to fix Earnest’s violin, what they discover is that music has been banned, and the only note allowed to be heard is Middle C. The answer to why this town established that rule is because of something the rebels in the family did long ago. The details are scant, and what’s revealed during the course actually says more than to get spoiled in advance.
Ultimately, to see Ernest and Celestine embark on a Trip to Gibberitia is about dealing with the past, and reuniting as a family. It’s not only about the two, but also in what this big lug left behind. When he ran away, as mentioned in the first films, he didn’t realise the harm done. He teased at not liking the idea of father’s footsteps, and to have this problem resolved in a unique matter is what makes this sequel special.
Even bears need certain necessities hammers to their noggins to understand that following in the footsteps of their forebears is bad!
4 Stars out of 5