The Prodigies: the forgotten French film that wanted to compete with X-Men and Watchmen

Some cinematic failures are more or less understandable. That of The Prodigies is completely, even if this French animated film also deserves to be remembered for its ambitions and its audacity.

With its dated (not to say ugly) animation, choppy plot, inconsistent characters, and rough-hewn subtext, it’s not not surprising that The Prodigies conquered neither the critics nor the general public. As atypical as it is, this co-production by the French Antoine Charreyron has not survived much in memory and should not benefit from any rehabilitation in the coming years. By betting on new technologies and the export of French animation cinema, the film was nevertheless an exciting bet which unfortunately collapsed under its own visual and narrative ambitions.

It should therefore be remembered that The Prodigiesbeyond its failure, with its history of teenagers endowed with powers who want to kill everyone, has tried to match on a technical level the big productions of Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks and other American giants, while expanding the testing ground of French animation to take it to new heights. It messed up, but the effort and the promise still deserve recognition today.

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Even if the most popular French animated feature films of the last century were mostly adaptations of comic books such as Asterix, Tintin and lucky Lukesome French productions and co-productions already illustrated all the richness of our animation cinema : The Savage Planet (to which we have dedicated a file), The King and the Bird, Robinson and company Where Gwen and the Book of Sand.

But this branch of the 7th hexagonal art only really took off at the dawn of the 2000s thanks to Kirikou and the witch. The unprecedented success of Michel Ocelot’s film proved that French auteur animation could bring in big profits, whether at the box office or in reputation. Other marginal films then emerged and are regularly cited among the best in the French catalogue: The Triplets of Belleville (to which we also dedicated a file), The Frog Prophecy, Persepolis Where U.

The Prodigies: PictureWaiting for the next big hit

These films were however in traditional animation with a handcrafted touch, whereas Pixar blew up 3D in 1995 with Toy Story. Blue Sky was quick to follow with The Ice AgeDisney with Chicken Little and Dreamworks with Antuntil its use became more democratic during the 2000s. At that time in France, there were only a few trials with, in particular, Kaena, the prophecy from 2003 and The True Story of Puss in Boots of 2009, which did not make much noise either in France or internationally and whose result was clearly not up to the standard of American productions.

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The Prodigies: the forgotten French film that wanted to compete with X-Men and Watchmen

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