English Title: April and the Extraordinary World
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Philippe Katerine
Directed by: Christian Desmares, Franck Ekinci
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains some spoilers for this film!
Synopsis: In an alternative steampunk-style reality, science is waylaid when scientists begin disappearing, including the parents of April (voiced by Marion Cotillard) who then sets out with her cat Darwin (voiced by Philippe Katerine) to carry on in their place and learn the truth behind the mystery.
Cartoon Cat: Darwin, undoubtedly named after the famous naturalist, was one of April’s parents’ early experiments in their attempt to find a serum which gives everlasting life. Instead of making him invincible, they only give him the ability to talk, and he becomes April’s close friend.
Darwin escapes with April when the authorities, who have banned all science except that sanctioned by the state, close in on them. But her parents apparently die and then disappear.
Years later April has grown and Darwin has become sickly. April desperately tries to make the serum to save his life. She doesn’t know that her parents secreted their last untested serum in a snowglobe which Darwin drinks right before he succumbs.
Darwin surprises April by coming back to life and being invincible. Together they are aided by a young man named Julius (voiced by Marc-André Grondin) who initially is spying for Inspector Pizoni (voiced by Bouli Lanners).
Together they find Pops (voiced by Jean Rochefort), April’s grandfather, and the group sets out on a wild series of misadventures in their search for April’s parents, whom they learn are not dead.
This French animated film was based on the graphic novels of Jacques Tardi. Darwin is a terrific character and even gets to be the hero in the end.
Kitty Carnage Warning! Other cats seen briefly in the film are ones kept in cages for the experiments and a kitten about to be injected with a sample of the serum (the injection never happens). Darwin is also shot at one point in the film but comes back to life, not to mention his death scene earlier in the film. Some of these images might be upsetting to youngsters or cat lovers.
Final Mewsings: Cats often do seem to be invincible.