WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Leap! by Éric Summer and Éric Warrin (Directors) and Laurent Zeitoun (Producer) and other producers
Type: Cartoon, Children’s, Dancing
Basic Plot: Felicie and Victor both have personal dreams that can never be pursued behind the walls of the orphanage they live. After successfully running away, the two pursue their dreams in Paris, ballet and inventing.
Plot: 2/5 Below Average: There were several plot problems ranging from major to minor with few redeeming qualities. The more minor ones were too much constant action, speech that sometimes sounded awkward and unnatural (perhaps because the movie is originally in French), and cliché characters. While the main plot – pursuing one’s personal dream– is not a bad one, the means by which Felicie gets to be a ballerina are silly. She basically becomes one because people let her do whatever she wants. Even her rival, who was literally pushing her and pulling her hair less than a minute ago, is now feeling fine about letting Felicie be in the ballet instead of her because Felicie knows why she dances and her rival does not. This is just one of the numerous weak points in the plot that are forced, unnatural, and even random. While it is understandable that children’s entertainment can take liberties concerning realistic content, that does not give it an excuse to be lazy and incoherent. The plot only had the tolerable attributes of being sometimes lightly heart warming and occasionally humorous, but even these effects could not fully save the plot.
Graphics: 3/5 Average: The graphics were nice, but most of the time that was all they were. There were some very pretty scenes inside of the ballet school or of Felicie’s face, but the whole film was not like that. The details were acceptable, but were lacking compared to most films made around the same time.
Moral: 1½/5 A Mostly Negative Moral: As stated earlier, a moral about working hard to achieve your dreams is admirable, but having your dreams handed to you because you are special is not. Since Felicie wants to be a ballerina, she runs away from an orphanage. She then meets a lady who allows Felicie to stay with her in exchange for work. The real problem with the moral starts when Felicie decides to steal a letter and lie so that she can attend a ballet school. When Felicie is caught, she is never faces any consequences. She says “I know you don’t understand, but this is my dream” and basically expects people to accept what she did. It works. Everyone feels sad for her or makes an exception or helps her get her way. It is not about working hard to get what you want, but rather about playing dirty and whining to get your way. Unlike some movies, which show a bratty protagonist repenting of their ways, Leap! shows a bratty child basically getting awarded for acting the way they do. The only real consequences came when Felicie decided to go out on a date rather than practice, but in the end, even this did not have long lasting consequences.
The only positive moral, which was short, was that one should know why they do something. Felicie’s rival admits that she only dances because her “mother makes” her, while Felicie does it because it is something she loves and because it is a part of who she is. In the end, Felicie understands that it is important to know why someone should do something. While good, this moral is only briefly mentioned and practically suffocated from the negative influences mentioned above.
Overall: 2/5 Below Average: This is not the worst movie I have watched, but it is not one of the better ones. I do not recommend in terms of quality, especially considering the moral of the story.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 1/5 Light Suggestive Content and Dating: A character that briefly appears twice has a low dress. Women in the movie and in art are shown wearing clothes that reveal the shoulders and back as well as merely tights/leggings over their legs, though little details concerning cleavage is shown. They usually wear a ballet style skirt, and one girl wears a leotard. One figurine is a ballet figure, but she is not wearing tights. A girl’s skirt falls over her body (she is wearing tights) when she is carried out of a room upside down. A middle aged man is once in his undershirt. A man falls and it is suggested to be that it was on his crotch. It is not shown. A girl goes on a date with a boy. A boy flirts with a girl and calls her by pet names. She mentions how he used a “pickup line.” A boy sets up a date and says he wants it to be “romantic,” though it never happens. A boy calls a girl his “girlfriend” and asks a girl if a certain boy is her “boyfriend.” A boy calls the Statue of Liberty the “Statue of Puberty.” A boy hides chickens in his nun outfit to give himself breasts. A boy lifts a girl in the air while they are on a date. A boy leans in for a kiss, but does not get one. A girl blows a kiss at a boy. Unmarried characters kiss each other on the cheek three times. Boys kiss girl’s hands. A boy calls Paris “the city of romance.” Characters comment on the attractiveness of other characters, though never inappropriately.
There are two jokes regarding faring and one each regarding peeing one’s pants and vomiting.
Violence: 2/5 Some Cartoon Violence: A woman hits a boy on the head with a wrench. A girl pulls her rival’s hair and pushes her. A boy kicks at a bird and is then knocked off a bridge by numerous birds. Two boys fight physically over a girl, though they barely actually touch each other, and the for humor’s sake. A character kicks a chair.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 1/5 One Misuse: God’s name is taken in vain once. A form of “suck” is said once. A woman is called a “witch,” though she is not one.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1½/5 Brief Lightly Intense Moments: A woman tries to kill a girl with a hammer and a wrench. She chases the girl up the Statue of Liberty and tries to chase her off of it, though she fails. A woman has to use a cane because it is said she was once in a dancing accident. Character get hit in the head and face as well as crash into things. A boy bumps his head on a bell at least three times for the sake of humor. Knives and darts are seen being thrown at a boy for the sake of humor. Boys are seen being electrocuted for the sake of humor. Characters are threatened, sometimes humorously and sometimes seriously, with violence and death. A woman says that a character “eats orphans” as a joke. A boy says he has a “fighting technique” from a certain dance. “Kung fu” is briefly mentioned once. A boy says jokingly that he “think[s he] broke [his] everything” and that he “broke [his] foot.” A girl once uses the phrase “stabbed in… the back.” A girl cries briefly a few times, though little tears are shown.
Religious Issues: ½/5 Brief Appearance: Some nuns briefly appear, and seem to run an orphanage. A woman is called “Mother Superior,” and a boy disguised as a nun is called “sister.” A boy calls a girl his “muse” which is a Greek goddess of Grace. It is never said what a muse is.
Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: A girl uses “magical” as a description once. A woman is called a “witch,” though she is not one. No magic appears in the movie.
Others: The movie centers on ballet. There is pop music and music with drums played in the background. A girl dances in a bar, and her friend talks about visiting one. His visit is shown in pictures. Characters at the bar are drinking something that is no doubt alcoholic. A boy disguises himself as a nun.
Overall: 1½/5 Almost All Ages Appropriate: Outside of the light violence and dating, the movie is appropriate for all ages. The only real moral problem I saw was the one in the Moral section mentioned above. Other than that, I would say this movie is appropriate for children eight to ten and older.