When Judge Dawn Hunt's pants are too tight she's subject to The Fainting.
The Painting may very well be the most beautiful animated film I have ever seen. The picture looks like an oil painting come to life. My only issue with this film is the rather heavy-handed nature of the message. Especially in this medium, I would have preferred to be shown more of what was preached.
Parents looking to show this to their children should be warned there is nudity within, admittedly animated and what you'd see in any museum; nonetheless for those who wish to shield their children there's your caveat.
In The Painting's world there are three groups. First are the snobby and elitist Alldunns, completely painted characters who live in a palace. Second are the Halfies, who lack just enough color to be considered less than Alldunn. They live at the base of the palace and just try to stay out of everyone's way. Finally are the Sketchies, devoid of color and lacking weight they are the outcasts, hated and chased and brutally attacked by the Alldunns at every turn.
Within this social hierarchy, a Romeo and Juliet story plays out between Alldunn Ramo (Michael Sinterniklaas) and Halfie Claire (Eden Riegel). When Claire misses her meeting with Ramo, her best friend Lola (Kamali Minter) goes to explain why. But before things can be resolved Lola, Ramo, and a Sketchie named Qwill (Vinnie Penna) find themselves being chased by a group of Alldunns. Taking refuge together, their boat gets caught in a current that leads them to the forest, where they are assumed dead.
But they are instead helped by the very creatures they fear, and they decide to use the opportunity they've been given and search for The Painter. Each member of this motley crew has a reason to search for their creator and their journey takes them out of their own painting where they find The Painter's studio. There they see other paintings and journey within different canvases in an attempt to find The Painter and bring him to their world to make things right.
The Painting absolutely is a morality play and the score, featuring music by Pascal Le Pennec, is an integral part of the piece. Even when there are supposedly static shots there is always movement, be it the subtle wave of a background drawing or the swell of the orchestral piece. It's a dazzling combination of visual and audio spaces and will resonate long after the ending credits have rolled.
The 1.85:1 video transfer is gorgeous, dazzling—whatever other words you could think of to say beautiful, it is. Holding its colors as to make them appear liquid at times, the strength of the palette and quality is only surpassed by The Painter's studio, which boasts animation so photo-realistic as to be truly breath-taking. There are zero complaints on the video front. Likewise the audio is as well mixed as any I've ever heard, and the only issue you'll have is whether to listen to the DTS-HD 5.1 in French or English as both are offered.
The special features include a DVD copy of the film and a couple of behind-the-scenes featurettes. One is a pretty in-depth interview (in French with English subtitles) and the other is a production slideshow.
Yes, The Painting has a heavy-handed message, but the technical achievements more than compensate for it. It's truly awe-inspiring work and will delight audiences young and old with its realistic animation and well-matched score.
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