BFI London Film Festival: Phantom Boy

Phantom Boy
Directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol
Starring Jared Padalecki, Vincent D’Onofrio and Fred Armisen
LFF Screening October 15th, 2016

by Joanna Orland

With a simplistic animation style, Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol fail to bring depth and excitement to their second feature film collaboration Phantom Boy.

A follow up to their 2010 Oscar-nominated A Cat in Paris, Phantom Boy is the story of Leo – an 11-year-old boy whose serious illness allows him the power to leave his body.  After meeting police officer Alex in hospital, the two team up to stop a skew-faced super villain from destroying New York.

Translated from its original French language to this English version, it feels as though much has got lost in translation.  Shallow and jumbled, the story of Leo’s adventure is flat and unengaging.  Primarily targeted at children, this version of Phantom Boy is slow-paced and too low key to immerse today’s youth and their low attention spans.  Adults won’t find much to engage with either as the story is primitive and some of the dialogue stunted and juvenile.

Phantom Boy looks better than it plays out, with its animation style a triumph over its puerile attempt at a narrative.




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