Belfast Telegraph

Ballerina DVD review: Dancing cartoon misses its steps


By Damon Smith

Ever since she was young, Felicie (voiced by Elle Fanning) has wanted to dance at the best ballet school in the world, the Theatre National de L'Opera.

Unfortunately, she lives in an orphanage in rural Brittany with best friend Victor (Dane DeHaan), who dreams of becoming an inventor. The resourceful girl hatches a plan to escape on a train that chugs past the orphanage.

At large in Paris, Felicie befriends former prima ballerina Odette (Carly Rae Jepsen), who works as a caretaker for snarling grand dame Regine Le Haut (Julie Khaner). Her brat daughter Camille Le Haut (Maddie Ziegler) is poised to audition at the Theatre National de L'Opera. Felicie pretends to be Le Haut and gains admission to the school.

Ballerina is a cloying computer-animated fable which grooves enthusiastically through dance movie cliches, including a montage of the heroine honing her craft and last-minute doubts on the eve of a big audition for The Nutcracker.

The animation is somewhat crude, but whenever visuals lack detail and richness, vocal performances compensate with gushing emotion.

Two stars

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