Movie Review: SNOWTIME! (Canada 2015) *** Directed by Jean-François Pouliot

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showtimeSNOWTIME! (Canada 2015) ***
Directed by Jean-François Pouliot

Starring: Angela Galuppo, Mariloup Wolfe, Lucinda Davis

Review: Gilbert Seah

LA GUERRE DES TUQUES (3D) is the highest grossing Canadian film of 2015. But almost no one in English Canada has heard of it. As the saying goes in the film industry, French Canadians see French Canadian films but English speaking Canadians do not see Canadian films at all – French or Canadian. So, it would be appropriate then to dub the French animated feature into English complete with an English title SNOWTIME! as if the original never existed.

But when the film, a delightful kids fantasy set in real life progresses, it becomes apparent that the film is very Quebecois despite the fact that all the character are speaking English. Even the names of the leads Luke and Sophie sound French (Luc et Sofie). The setting is a little village, snow covered, the typical seen in pictures of Quebec, which one kid calls the best village in the world. And he and the other kids believe it too.

The animated feature is based on and is an animated version of the 1984 family film THE DOG WHO STOPPED THE WAR (French title LA GUEREE DES TUQUES, no change here).
This review is based on the 3D English version.

The film centres on a group of children, led by Luke (Nicholas Savard-L’Herbier in the French version, Angela Galuppo in English) and Sophie (Mariloup Wolfe in French, Lucinda Davis in English), who plan and stage a giant snowball fight during the Christmas holidays. The story is unimportant. The fact that all the children appear to be having a fine time at war is all that matters. Until someone loses an eye – or a dog is hurt, as in the case of this film. As in most children’s films, SNOWTIME! is one centred around the children. There are no adults around. The kids behave like adults mostly, dealing with issues such as acceptance, loyalty, friendship and chivalry, elements that make a good family or children’s tale. This is a delightful Canadian film, quite unlike Disney expensive blockbuster animated features like FROZEN. Still, there are a few catchy tunes like “You are My Sweater” (whatever that means, I have no clue) performed at the end credits.

The 3D effects are well done with lots of snowy stuff tossed out of the screen at the audience. The village looks very Christmassy and the film has an overall warm and fuzzy atmosphere despite the ‘war’ setting.

The humour is mild at best. It is not overtly hilarious or extremely goofy, characteristics of most animated features these days. Getting brain freeze from drinking milkshakes or changing the odds of winning during an arm wrestling match are examples of the kind of humour found in the film.

The result is a rather mediocre entertaining film. The plusses of the film include the gorgeous animation on the screen, better bang for the buck that the multi million dollar products churned out by the Hollywood studios. At least Canadians can say this is our animated feature. It is up against strong competition like NORM OF THE NORTH and KUNG FU PANDA 3.

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