This review of “The Illusionist” appears on KTKA-49.
Nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars earlier this year, “The Illusionist” is a beautifully rendered melancholy tribute to a brand of entertainers that has long since passed.
Director Sylvain Chomet follows an elderly magician in the declining years of his career. It’s 1959, and television, rock n’ roll, and other forms of entertainment have him traveling more and getting paid less. In an idyllic village in Scotland, he meets a young girl who begins to tour with him, convinced he is capable of real magic.
The combination of hand-drawn and computer animation makes for an expressive and lovely film, one that is almost entirely devoid of dialogue. But it doesn’t need dialogue to tell a coherent and engrossing story.
“The Illusionist” gets a little too submerged in pathos for its own good sometimes, though, and could use a little more humor with its nostalgic tone. Another missed opportunity: no extra features about the development of its script, an unpublished work by late legendary director Jacques Tati.