This year-end sees another family film Pil’s Adventures, after Encanto and Clifford The Big Red Dog. With such tough competition, the one thing that makes Pil’s Adventures stand out is that it is a rare French production.
Produced by the relatively new TAT Productions, Pil’s Adventures marks their third feature film. It follows the story of a young orphan Pil (Kaycie Chase), who roams the streets with her weasels Scratcher, Fluffy and Gobbly. One day, the evil regent Tristain (Pierre Tessier) puts a curse on Prince Roland (Gauthier Battoue), which is witnessed by Pil. Pil and her weasels then set off on a journey to save the prince and the kingdom, along with a clumsy but good-hearted guard, and a young loony jester.
Pil's Adventures is pretty similar to the popular Shrek animated film series. Here's how it might remind you of the Shrek movies:
1. It's set in the medieval period when the royal family exists.
Like Shrek, Pil’s Adventures revolves around the royal family. Instead of saving Princess Fiona, the mission is to save Prince Roland. The regent Tristain is akin to Shrek’s Lord Farquaad, both of whom have similar neck-length black hair. The medieval setting in Pil’s Adventures also spells nothing but nostalgia, with tiled roofs and stone walls, armoured knights and maces.
Despite the similarity in setting, Pil’s Adventures presents a more colourful and brighter tone. Even when it should have looked scarier, like in the Cursed Forest, it is still cheery and fairytale-like. It lacks the suspense and thrill that can enhance the story, but Pil’s Adventures is likely made to be as child-friendly as possible.
2. It has, of course, magic, which turns the prince into a “chickat”.
What’s a children’s film without some magical element, right? Just like how Princess Fiona was cursed in Shrek, Prince Roland in Pil’s Adventures suffers a similar fate. The difference is he becomes the comic relief of the film, in the form of a half chicken and half cat — a “chickat”. But no “true love’s kiss” can save him, except for an antidote to remove the curse.
While the chickat may remind you of Heihei the rooster (also the comic relief) from Disney’s Moana, it's not as silly, since the humour mainly stems from the cat-like actions with the face of a chicken. Other than the chickat, there is also a talking sock (ventriloquism) to tickle your funny bone.
3. It packs a roller coaster of fun and warmth.
Pil’s Adventures details a pretty straightforward plot like Shrek, with an unmistakable antagonist, a coherent build-up to its climax, and a “happily ever after” ending. As Pil and her gang travel from the Cursed Forest to the Were-unicorn’s lair, there's one fun-filled adventure after another. The best part of the film is probably the heartwarming ending, when people come together as one, and all conflicts and misunderstandings are resolved.
Directed by Julien Fournet, Pil’s Adventures is coming to Singapore theatres on 2 December.
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