On March 25, one of the year's best genre films is going to be released. It's not live-action, it's not American, but it's got more life and wonder in it than 90 per cent of the films released in the States combined. It's a French, steampunk animation called April and the Extraordinary World.
The plot of the film is the kind of slightly revisionist history that makes the mind tingle with delight. In this world, based on the world of graphic novelist Jacques Tardi, everything changed when Napoleon Bonaparte was killed before he became a famous world leader. His demise started a chain reaction where most of the scientific advancements we now know and use never happened. Electricity, television, telephones? Don't exist. Instead everything is run on fossil fuels, which obviously has led to a very different world.
At the center of that is April, voiced by Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, who has long had to fend for herself since her scientist parents were killed. Turns out, though, maybe that's not exactly what happened and April's search for truth in this steam-based world kicks off a globe-spanning adventure.
In our review of the film last year at Fantastic Fest, I said "April and the Extraordinary World is the rousing, science-based adventure you wanted Disney's Tomorrowland to be. It's simultaneously an exciting roller coaster ride, while also stimulating your intellect by presenting a fascinating alternate history." I stand by that. You can read more of the review here, and check out the movie starting on March 25 in New York. It will then expand from there. Here's a link to find where it's playing.