Ernest & Celestine


2014 was a marvelous, thrilling year for feature-length animation. While such a good crop is never easy to predict, the early shot in the arm that was The LEGO Movie certainly set the tone. That the first real critical hit of the year was an animated feature, released in the dead of February amidst Oscar season, the RoboCop remake and The Monuments Men, is a significant thing. Just a cursory look at the 2014 films that qualify for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature should put a smile on your face, even if some were panned and others seem obscure. From the best of American studio fare to The Tale of Princess Kaguya, perhaps the year’s most evident masterpiece, there’s been a lot to celebrate.


ernest and celestine

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Ernest & Celestine Celestine is a young mouse still learning the ways of the world, and part of her ongoing education is learning that the bears who live on the surface above the subterranean city the mice call home are vicious, mean and constantly intent on eating any mouse they come across. She’s never met one, but she sees no reason why mice and bears can’t be friends. She finds her opinion challenged when one of her excursions up top brings her in contact with a bear named Ernest, and soon the two are on an adventure that goes against all the laws of both bear and mouse society. This French award-winner is a whimsical delight from beginning to end as it tells a sweet tale of friendship that doubles as a metaphor for inter-species relations. Maybe I read too much into that part, but it does work as a story about celebrating commonalities instead of fearing differences, and in that regard it’s a big success. The soft animation, complete with unfinished lines and watercolor stylings, creates an immersive and warm world, and scenes like the duo’s garbage can meet-cute and a wonderfully chaotic chase with police show a diversity that the style handles with equal strength. See it with the bear (or mouse) in your life. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Making of, animatic, interview]


Oscar Predictions 2014: Animated Feature

Since its inception in 2001, the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature has been awarded to a wide range of movies. Though in recent years — 5 out of the last 6, to be exact — it’s basically been The Pixar Award. Despite the quality of the other contenders, Pixar seems to wrap it up without fail year-in and year-out. This year, there is no Pixar film nominated, leaving the field wide open for a bunch of newcomers. From cavemen to super-villains to ice princesses, this year’s group of nominees is diverse. But does that make it a more competitive field? We explore as we break down the nominees and predict a winner (shown in red).


piff37 the apostle

The 37th Portland International Film Festival runs this year from February 6th to the 22nd. They’re screening 104 feature films and 24 shorts across those two weeks from countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Iceland, Nepal, and Taiwan. Check out the official site for tickets and/or more details. My second look at the films playing this year’s festival include three animated tales from Spain, the U.S., and France. Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises will be opening the fest this Thursday, but between its Oscar nomination and Miyazaki’s apparent retirement the film is already getting more than its share of press. Plus, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t actually all that impressed with it outside of the animation itself. Instead, I decided to review three other animated films more in need of the exposure. Keep reading for capsule reviews of The Apostle, Cheatin’, and Ernest & Celestine, and follow all of our coverage here.



Everyone knows a mouse and a bear cannot be friends. Or can they? Based on the children’s books of the same name, Ernest & Celestine is a lovely tale of what friendship and understanding truly means. Celestine (voiced by Pauline Brunner) is a tiny mouse living beneath the streets in France, forced to steal teeth from the bears living above ground in order to help her fellow mice keep their incisors (apparently the one thing giving them a leg up on the bears) sharp and reliable. But things are not all easy above ground, either, as “big, monstrous” bear Ernest (voiced by Lambert Wilson) has fallen on hard times and just wants something to eat. After her attempt to steal a newly lost tooth goes terribly wrong, Celestine finds herself trapped in a trash bin until Ernest finds her during his quest for food. While Celestine seems like a tasty treat to Ernest at first, she convinces him she knows where he can get a lot more (and a lot tastier) food, a favor she later calls upon when she needs Ernest’s help. Ernest may end up with a full belly and Celestine a full bag of teeth, but when it is revealed the two worked together to help each other, they are both run out of town.

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published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015
published: 01.26.2015

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