As in life there are many delights in the world of cinema. One such delight is that of Paul Giamatti yelling. There is a beauty and a general command of the screen that comes from a moment of outburst from Paul Giamatti. He need not even be speaking any vulgarities for the effect to take hold of the viewer. Paul Giamatti is a master of his craft in both the quiet moments and absolutely in the loud. The English language dub for "Ernest & Celestine" offers up a chance to experience the loud side of Paul Giamatti and that truly is a delight.
In fact, "Ernest & Celestine" is, on the whole, a delight. The other voice actors in the English language dub are also great. I mean, how perfect is the casting of Forest Whitaker in the role of a bear? I never really thought about it before, but he pretty much is a bear in real life. He also has an excellent command of intensity like Paul Giamatti does that could be seen even in the earliest of his roles as an angry football player in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High". Here, he plays the bear Ernest who is mostly a relaxed bear of the Winnie The Pooh variety, but who also has his moments of anger.
Real life husband and wife Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally are perfectly cast as a married mouse couple here. Nick Offerman especially utilizes his role in the fashion he has become known for on television show "Parks and Recreation". The couple's conflicting, but somehow perfectly complimentary choices of occupation are hilarious. All the voice cast here, from William H. Macy as a mouse dentist to Jeffrey Wright as a bear judge are perfectly matched to their characters. Mackenzie Foy, a relative newcomer to the world of cinema, does a perfect job as the adorable mouse Celestine.
Now, I have not seen the movie in its original French language and I bet that the French cast does a wonderful job as well. English language versions of movies that were originally in a different language are often to be avoided. In a live action film, for example, I always watch the movies in their original language. In animation, however, it is easier to accept a different language for the movie because the animation is usually not too closely matched to the original language. So, see the movie in which ever language you feel comfortable, but know that the English language cast does a phenomenal job.
The animation in "Ernest & Celestine" is just as delightful as everything else in the film. It is not the super crisp and clean animation that tends to come from films in the U.S. It is not 3D animation either. "Ernest & Celestine" uses a kind of 2D animation that is almost like watching a world being sketched right in front of your eyes. There is a lightness to it that matches the lightness of the story and tone of the film.
The story of "Ernest & Celestine" is one that calls for acceptance and an end to discrimination. These are messages that are undoubtedly good for children to see and hear. The story involves a world where mice and bears both live and talk, but not with each other. The two animals' lives are separate from one another. In fact, both species live in fear of the other. So when Ernest, a bear, and Celestine, a mouse, begin to form a friendship things don't go so smoothly.
There is humor throughout "Ernest & Celestine" and a general light tone to everything. The messages in the movie are important and serious, however, and thankfully do not lose their effect amidst the lightness surrounding them. "Ernest & Celestine" does a very good job balancing the serious with the silly.
"Ernest & Celestine" is based on a series of books by Gabrielle Vincent and was directed by the same team that brought about the film "A Town Called Panic". "Ernest & Celestine" and "A Town Called Panic" are completely different films both in the story and in the animation. "A Town Called Panic" is stop-motion animated and has almost no plot to it at all. It is a movie solely intended to make one laugh and it is absolutely hilarious. "Ernest & Celestine" is also funny, but has a serious side to it and more of a plot and is animated in a completely different hand-drawn style. The thing both movies have in common is that the animation is very creative and the movies on a whole are very enjoyable to watch.
"Ernest & Celestine" is a true delight. It is a movie with a unique style and a winning charm. It works both as light entertainment and as a film with an important and serious message. The plot may still be somewhat thin and the message may not be anything new, but the film does not overstay its length and the message is one that sadly still needs to be repeated in this world. The creators of "Ernest & Celestine" have kept their originality intact with this second film and hopefully will be able to offer more cinematic outings like this in the future.