‘The Inventor’ Review

To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, The Inventor is a stop-motion animated biographical film directed by Jim Capobianco (Leonardo) and Pierre-Luc Granjon (Poppety in the Fall) – in their feature-length directorial debuts – from a screenplay written by Capobianco. Featuring the voices of Stephen Fry, Marion Cotillard, Daisy Ridley, and Matt Berry. The story follows famous painter, architect, and inventor Leonardo da Vinci as he leaves ecclesiastical Italy for less restrictive France.

In Rome, Italy 1516 Leonardo da Vinci polishes his latest invention, a telescope. When his friend comes to see it Leonardo explains what it does and how it can help him to study the moon and the stars. He also mentions that with direct sunlight it can be a dangerous weapon. Later, in his lab, da Vinci begins to study a body as he is watched by shadowy figures. Afterwards, he is called to speak with the Cardinal who isn’t fond of his inventions and wishes he would stick to paintings.

Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous inventors of our past. Basically, everyone in the world has heard of da Vinci. There is even a Ninja Turtle named after him. He came up with so many ideas and inventions that if only had had the tools and resources to create. He was a man well past his time in terms of thought and curiosity. Jim Capobianco came up with an interesting way to tell his story in what one can consider an animated biopic. Telling the story in such a way is a good way to get children interested while also teaching them something about science, history, and religion. My daughter personally enjoyed the film quite a bit. While I applaud his boldness I don’t feel like the film came together in a way that makes it memorable.

To start with the positives, I am a big fan of stop-motion, so I enjoyed the mix of stop-motion and traditional animation. This sets it apart from most modern animation which is mostly computer-generated. I mentioned before that the movie does sneak in educational tidbits for the children. For one, I had no idea that Leonardo da Vinci ever lived in France. That was a neat thing for me to learn. There is also a great scene about the escalation of war. When people create weapons more often than not the enemy creates similar or better bigger weapons to counter them. As seen in Oppenheimer earlier this year we now live in an era where all the major powers have the means to end all life on the planet if a war broke out thanks to the invention of the atomic bomb.

The score was interesting to me because some of the music was really loud. I had to turn my TV down every time a song came about. Then I would have to turn it back up when the characters began to talk to each other. Hopefully, this was just because I viewed the movie through a screening app and those who saw it in the theater had a more balanced-sounding experience. After watching Capobianco’s short film Leonardo, I can tell that this movie is just an extended version of that project. While I’m glad he got to update his film, this definitly feels like someone’s first film. Also, I do feel that the budget was not up to par compared to what animated films are made with today. Thus the project still felt limited to a degree. It gives off the vibe of a Rankin Bass Production from the 1960s.

We should get more animated biopics alongside the fantasy adventure kids’ movies so that children can leave theaters having learned a lesson. We also need to ensure they have the necessary budget to deserve to be on the silver screen. I give The Inventor a Solid 5/10. With all the other great animated features that were released this year, this one unfortunately does not stand up to the competition and is likely to go unremembered.

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