Wednesday, February 29, 2012

bad/awesome flixxx review: City of Lost Children (1995)

"The poor masterpiece became so crazed he believed a single tear drop could save him. And after many cruel deeds he died. Never knowing what it was to dream!" - Uncle Irvin

"Irvin, you know all about feelings. Won't you try to help me? Won't you explain why all those children only have nightmares?" - Krank

"Who stole the child's dreams? Krank, in his evil schemes. But the happy tale had a sting in it's tail. The genius has a fit of pique, hear the genius shriek, the 'genius' is up a creek." - Uncle Irvin

This is one of the most beautiful movies ever. Its feel and tone is a very dark future (almost steampunk) fairytale. I could believe that society could have developed very fast in the 20's in France and this could have been a creepy dramatization of that heavy fairytale type shit. Its super confusing upon first watch, and even though I watched it countless times in Earth high school, when I watched it a few weeks back, I still wasn't exactly sure what was going on. I had to pay close attention because its in French, and its confusing as shit on top of that. An all french cast excluding Ron Perlman, and including a super intriguing young actress (at the time) named Judith Vittet who would be like 28 now (creep creep). All in CITY OF LOST CHILDREN!!!

Like I said, this movie is confusing, but let's see what I can make of the plot for you: There's this big dude named One. He's like a circus strongman and an ex French sailor. He's adopted this little brother kid who is only concerned with eating. No talking just eating. The beginning scene is outstandingly creepy with a little boy dreaming of Santa, and then there's like a ton of Santa's, and the world kind of becomes twisted and distorted. The kid is dreaming and he's having a nightmare. When he comes out of it, there's this ugly dude (Krank) and he's screaming with a huge chandelier vice contraption on his head. Turns out he's trying to steal the kid's dreams. Unfortunately for him, he is a clone who cannot dream. Because of this- he is aging super fast compared to his 5 brothers. 4 of them live with him. One of them (the original) escaped and lives underwater and collects junk that falls into the water (which everyone seems to be scared of).

Krank lives with his clone brothers and his uncle (who is just a brain in a fishtank) and a midget lady on an oilrig offshore. It's France so I like to pretend they are in Hossegor. They control a steampunk cyclops army who steals kids in town at night so that Krank can steal their dreams, only they have nightmares and he can't figure out why. His uncle claims its because he's a hideous monster. The cyclops dudes kidnap One's little bro and One goes to find him. He meets some orphans who are thieves for these conjoined twin sisters who are mean. One of the orphans, Miette, befriends One and finally helps him go look for his brother against the Octopus (what the call the twins) wishes. One becomes very protective over Miette and begins calling her little sister. It actually DOES get uncomfortable for a moment when they are holding each other and he's snuggling into her back. But then the innocence of One rears its head and you forget that.

The Octopus is pissed and somehow sends this dude (who puts poison into pouches on the mouths of some fleas) to get Miette and One to come back to them and be thieves AND recover this safe for them that was stolen and fell into the water. The guy does it and feels bad and rescues One but lets Miette fall in the water. No one goes in after her so we assume the water is poisonous or something. Nobody wants to go in there for some reason. Who knows? But then Miette ends up meeting the original clone. She escapes from him because he's so batty he doesn't even remember who he is (which turns out to be the guy who created all of the clones in the first place. He lost his memory. And the midget chick turns out to be a wife he made for himself).

So, Miette goes back to One and they continue on their journey. Along the way, Krank's dream escapes thanks to meddling by Uncle Irvin the brain, and it enters Miette's nose and the nose of the OG clone. It lets them know some of what's going on. Its like the device to move the story along. "The reveal". So everyone (Miette and One, and The OG creator/original genius guy) starts converging on this oil rig to confront Krank and rescue the little duder. I won't tell you the ending. The visuals are the real pay off here. The movie creates a giant world. I don't know how to properly convey how big it feels. You'll just have to watch it and see. And if any French Thorriors out there know how to contact Judith Vittet, let me know. Word.

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