It’s 11:30 pm
I really enjoy blind buying when it comes to finding movies,there is something that is enchanting when you find a completely unexpected gem. You always see common titles that everyone and their dog has but finding quality indie films takes patience and a willingness to gamble on something you had no idea existed.
This is one of the reasons I like going to both Family Video and the library,you really never know what you will see visit to visit.
As a avid fanboy,I like a wide array of genres and that includes animated films. While I am not a hardcore manga and anime collector,I do enjoy watching them. In Phantom Boy,not only did I find a new animated adventure but also a foreign one as well that wasn’t Japanese.
Phantom Boy is a French film,dubbed into English by a well known star-studded cast.
The film makers behind it,Jean-Loup Felicioli (graphic artist) and Alain Gagnol (screenplay) had snagged a Oscar nomination in 2012 for “A Cat In Paris” ,so they know their away around a good story.
Phantom Boy opens with 11 year old Leo reading a story to his little sister Lily.
Leo’s mom comes and urges Leo to get some rest,they are going to the hospital the next day for new tests. It is implied that Leo is suffering from a possible advanced illness,most likely cancer. He agrees and heads to bed.
Meanwhile across town,a cop named Alex is shopping with his journalist girlfriend Mary when the grocery store they are at is suddenly robbed. One of the crooks cooks off a round,allowing Alex to pretend he has been hit. When the crooks go over to see how bad Alex has been hit,he snags both of them but a loose gunshot hits a gas line and blows up the store. (shades of Chris Tucker in Rush Hour). Instead of being treated as a hero,Alex is banished to the docks by his Captain.
When New York is threatened by a hacker only known as The Face who says he will blow up the city in 24 hours unless he is paid a billion dollars. When Alex,by sheer accident,stumbles The Face and his gang,he gets badly wounded and left for dead.
While at the hospital Alex finds himself astral projecting above his body. He is guided back to his by of all people,Leo,who is also out of his body. Alex goes to sleep,thinking he is dreaming this.
The next day Leo and Alex meet. Leo is excited about meeting his first police officer but Alex isn’t really feeling it,his leg is broken and his Captain won’t take his calls when he tries to tell him where The Face is. But Alex knows Leo….that he helped him last night. Leo is excited because Alex is the first person to have remembered Leo helping him. Leo has been helping a lot of folks but when they wake up,they have forgotten Leo.
Leo explains how he can leave his body at will and travel as a phantom,he can still talk and hear everything around him but his body is in a coma state. He can only stay in a phantom state until he starts turning blue,then he must return to his body.
Alex is skeptical at first but after a adventure involving Mary and saving her from The Face,Alex believes. But with his captain not helping him and the clock ticking,Alex and Leo must join forces to stop The Face and his ruthless gang in 24 hour or else…..
I really enjoyed “Phantom Boy” quite a bit. The animation is very old school,meaning the Felicioli and Gagnol drew just about scene by hand with just a whisper of CG tossed it. While the story seems very 1930s in the way The Face is drawn,he looks like a Piscasso picture,he reminded of a Chester Gould created villain in Dick Tracy.
Lucky for all of us,The Face is rather hapless and saddled with two dimwit sidekicks and a tiny mutt with “the heart of a shark”. While there is a little bit of gun play,no one is hurt and the story focuses on the bond of love between a family,friendship,loyalty and being brave in overcoming obstacles.
The music by Serge Besset is wonderful,soft and doesn’t overpower the story. Leo’s theme is fun and playful but still acknowledges what he is going through.
The American version of Phantom Boy is a strong one headed by Vincent D’Onofrio (Daredevil) as The Face, Jared Paladecki (Supernatural) as Alex,Melissa Disney as Mary and Marcus D’Angelo (The Judge) as young Leo.
Phantom Boy is rated PG for thematic elements and has a run time of 1 hour 20 minutes.
Special features include the bonus short “One Heck of A Plan” featuring a guest star from Phantom Boy, a interview with Felicioli and Gagnol ,a making of feature and the film’s trailer.
You can buy Phantom Boy by going to the GKids website.
The cheetah and I both loved Phantom Boy and hope to see another adventure from him soon!!
How about you? What was or is your favorite animated movie that you have watched. Let us know by dropping a comment below!