Valley of the Lanterns review – lacklustre fairytale animation | Animation in film

A moderate cartoon feature about an old lady called Olistene (voiced by Nicole Oliver) in a fairytale village who has the beginnings of Parkinson’s (the “shaking sickness”). She is to have a fateful connection with a hapless young man who is a gambling addict; he’s been betting all his money on pig races, and his wife has left him for a baker.

Basically, this is what you might call landfill animation: the type of uninteresting production-line feature made possible by advances in digital technology. Its only purpose can really be to keep very little children pacified, with designs for human faces that are frankly lacking much imagination. They look like bland digital blobs.

The old woman in question spends her days making paper lanterns for the new year’s eve festival – they each have a candle and are released into the night sky. (It’s the sort of thing that in the real world is thought to be too dangerous.) But the old lady is also in possession of mysterious secret information about a certain type of blue flower that could cure her malady, and a particular lantern that might give her the power to turn back time and restart the year. And so we are introduced into a weird world of Groundhog Day repetition and going back in time to fix everyone’s problems.

There are some potentially interesting story touches here, but visually this has all the imaginative life of a computer screensaver.

• Valley of the Lanterns is available on Sky Cinema from 6 April.

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Source: The Guardian

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