Phantom Boy | Salt Lake City Weekly

Phantom Boy

Rated PG 84 minutes 2015

★★★★★ ★★★★★
A haunting concept gets tangled up with a goofy comic-book plot in this French animated tale from the Oscar-nominated A Cat in Paris team of Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli. In New York City, master criminal The Face (Vincent D’Onofrio, revisiting his Men in Black voice) threatens to take down the city with a computer virus, opposed by oft-disciplined police detective Alex Tanner (Jared Padalecki) and 11-year-old cancer patient Leo (Marcus D’Angelo), who can invisibly, intangibly leave his body and fly around the city when he’s unconscious. There’s a rich metaphor in the idea of a sick, imaginative boy who turns his illness into a way to become a hero; it’s a surprisingly catch-in-the-throat moment when Leo says, “Sometimes I forget how heavy my body is.” But much of the story-line resorts to broad slapstick involving The Face’s hapless henchmen, like it’s an episode of the vintage Batman TV series. While Felcioli’s unique visual style makes this a welcome alternative to cookie-cutter CGI, Phantom Boy never reaches its full emotional potential when the countdown clock for the villain’s plan gets equal billing with the countdown clock for Leo’s life.

Film Credits

Director: Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol

Producer: Jacques-Rémy Girerd, Emmanuel Bernard, Michel Nicolas and Tim Martens

Cast: Fred Armisen, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jared Padalecki, Melissa Disney, Dana Snyder and Marcus D'angelo

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