It was with great pleasure and anticipation that my daughters and I attended the premiere of Leap!, the animated movie, at The Grove in Los Angeles. In attendance were Maddie Ziegler, who voiced the character of Camille, and Carly Rae Jepsen, who voiced the character of Odette. The crowd was also greeted by the movie’s Co-Directors and writers Eric Summer and Eric Warin.
Leap! opens with the spunky and rebellious Félicie (voiced by Elle Fanning) and her best friend Victor (voiced by Nat Wolff) as they embark on yet another attempt to escape their orphanage in Brittany, France to follow their respective dreams of becoming a Ballet dancer and an inventor, in Paris. Set in the late 1800’s, the movie captures the excitement of the times. With both the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty under construction, the background gives you that sense of possibility in the air. Because these two kids have such determination, they make it to Paris where they find a way to follow their passions. For Victor, it is in becoming an apprentice, but for Félicie it is in using the identity of the spoiled, wealthy Camille to gain admittance into a prestigious dance school. With no formal dance training, she quickly learns that passion alone is not enough to overcome the attitudes of her instructor and fellow classmates, led by the mean and sneaky Camille and her evil mother Régine (voiced by Kate McKinnon). Camille, who had broken the one reminder that Félicie had of her mother, proves to be technically superior to Félicie, but lacks the passion it takes to be truly great. With determination to succeed, Félicie finds her mentor, Odette, once a dancer herself, who encourages her and teaches her that it takes a lot of hard work and practice to become a talented ballerina. With the support of her friend Victor and ultimately, the orphanage guard Luteau (voiced by Mel Brooks) Félicie works hard to attain her dreams of dancing alongside a prima ballerina.
The movie animation was beautiful to watch, and the story was engaging for little girls and boys alike. Although adults may find the movie predictable, it was still very entertaining. The music was upbeat and catchy, and added to the themes of Girl Power throughout the film. The message that children can take from the movie is to never give up on their dreams. As my children put it, “dreams are important, and to make it happen, it takes a lot of hard work! So, whether your dream is to become a dancer, or a doctor, you won’t get there if you don’t work really hard and never give up.”