In the Clade family, the obsession with discovery is not an empty word. Twenty-five years ago, Jaeger, the most famous explorer of all time, set out to conquer the impassable mountains surrounding the region. We never saw him again. To the great despair of the patriarch, his son, Searcher, did not follow him, preferring to start farming after finding a miraculous plant, the pando, capable of providing non-polluting and inexhaustible electricity to the entire population. . A treasure cultivated with love, destined for his own son, Ethan, as if it were obvious that he would follow in his father’s footsteps.
But now, a mysterious parasite attacks the pando. And to go back to the roots of evil, we will have to dive into the very deep bowels of the basement, into a strange world populated by unlikely and not necessarily very hospitable creatures.
Obviously, before tackling this little gem of animation, directors Don Hall (The New Heroes, Raya and the Last Dragon) and Qui Nguyen have well potted Jules Verne. And especially Journey to the Center of the Earth Where 20000 Leagues Under the Sea. Then, they enriched the story with the complicated father-son relationships, the weight of family heritage, the importance of designing ecosystems in a global way, the danger of preconceived ideas or appearances, as well as the essential adaptation to others instead of trying to impose our view of the world on them. To make matters worse, the Clades form a multi-ethnic family (the bubbly Meridan is black, Searcher has a pink complexion and their son, Ethan, is therefore mixed race), in a world where diversity is essential, whether sexually or culturally. . And, icing on the cake, the women are at the helm with a mischievous spirit in this plunge into the unknown.
Visually too, inventiveness largely prevails. After a start in black and white, followed by an evocation in the form of a comic book of the 50s, the adventure continues in a phantasmagorical universe, soft, floating, escaping all our references, in which it seems impossible to distinguish the danger from benevolent beings. At times, it feels like Avatar and its fluorescent lights, to others, in a painting by Hieronymus Bosch.
Confusing, Avalonia, the strange journey the rest until the end, questioning our prejudices or our rationality, happily messing around with the codes of American action films to better lead us to question our way of thinking or the different worlds we know. It’s brilliant, exciting, challenging. And full of humor. Impossible not to fall for Légende, a disarmingly kind dog capable of performing a hilarious dance step, or for Splat, a little jelly-like blue creature with many arms and a strong character, who offers himself the luxury of parodying Mickey in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Here is a marvel intended as much for the parents as for the children, brought to generate some beautiful family discussions at the exit of the room.