When the Oscar nominations were announced last year, perhaps the least known nominee of the Best Animated Feature category was a little film called “Ernest & Celestine,” which tells the simple story of a young mouse, Celestine (Voice of Mackenzie Foy), who befriends a bear, Ernest (Voice of Forest Whitaker). Taking place in a world where bears live on the surface and mice live underground, Celestine has always been taught that bears are dangerous and vicious creatures that eat mice without mercy. Despite these teachings, she believes that friendship with them is possible, so while on a mission to collect teeth on the surface for her dentist apprenticeship, she gets to know one who helps her out of a jam. Ernest, an unemployed bear desperate for food, at first wants to eat Celestine, but after a series of events that forces them to go on the run from policebears and policemice, the two become good friends as they hold up in Ernest’s house in the woods. However, the police have sworn to find them and bring them to justice by any means necessary.
“Ernest & Celestine” is an incredibly sweet film that brings back memories of animated tales with similar themes, such as “The Fox and the Hound.” Here we have two different species, a bear and a mouse, who have been taught to fear/hate the other their whole lives, but a pair of outcasts prove that these prejudices aren’t really true. Brought to life with beautiful animation, this simple tale pulls you in and doesn’t let go as these two unlikely friends team up and get to know each other, showing that there’s no real reason why a bear and a mouse can’t get along in this world of theirs. It does start to taper off a little bit at the start of the second half when the two are trying to remain hidden from the authorities, but the conclusion comes back strong and reaffirms this as a great animated tale of friendship and overcoming false perceptions of others. It’s a shame that the film didn’t get more attention during its limited run earlier this year, but now that it’s finally come to Blu-ray, you should most definitely seek it out.
“Ernest & Celestine” comes to Blu-ray in a 1.85:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of stunning quality. The animation truly gets to shine in a picture that’s beautifully sharp and crystal clear. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is on the very soft side, but as usual, just by turning up the volume a little more than normal, you are treated to a flawless audio experience that presents all elements in splendid quality. Overall, there’s hardly a flaw to be found in either department.
The Making of Ernest & Celestine: An in-depth look at the creation of the film from its adaptation to completion. Definitely worth the time to watch for the amazing amount of info presented.
Feature-Length Animatic: A rough cut of the film shown through crude animation featuring some material that didn’t make it into the final version. It’s not necessarily worth watching all of it, but it is worth taking a peak at for a few minutes.
Interview with Director Benjamin Renner: A 13-minute interview with one of the directors of the film. Given that he doesn’t have anything particularly interesting to say, it’s not really worth the time.
“Ernest & Celestine” is a delightfully charming film that is sure to delight viewers of all ages. Its simple themes of friendship and looking at someone more than skin-deep provide a strong backbone for a story that is entertaining and heartwarming at the same time, making this a rare animated treat that is more than just goofy fun. It may be an obscure title, but it easily stands next to, if not above, any major animated release of the last few years.
Available on Blu-ray and DVD starting tomorrow.
Recent Blu-ray/DVD releases: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Tim's Vermeer, Alan Partridge, RoboCop (2014), Alexander: The Ultimate Cut, Ravenous, Son of God, The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection, Stalingrad, The Monuments Men, Pompeii, 3 Days to Kill, Grand Piano, Her, Orange is the New Black: Season One, I, Frankenstein, Final Exam, Evilspeak, Star Trek: Enterprise - Season Four, The Legend of Hercules, Dead Shadows, Sorcerer, Copperhead, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Best of Bogart Collection, Beneath, American Hustle
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