On this edition of Creations of Chaos, it’s the science fiction Steampunk fantasy of your dreams. It is the indeed extraordinary April and the Extraordinary World.
April is a young lady who lost her family after they were killed trying to escape capture. April’s family was hunted down because her parents and grandfather were inventing a serum that would cause its user to become invincible.
Alone, except for her dying cat Darwin, April works to perfect her family’s serum, in order to save her feline companion.
After receiving an unexpected message from her thought- to- be- dead father, April sets out on a quest, that plunges her into a dastardly scheme and a world she could not imagine.
In an age that is putting more emphasis on encouraging girls towards science and math, April is an inspiring character. She’s a brilliant scientist, inventive, and able to think on her feet. Her biggest challenge is working through her feelings of abandonment.
I loved the antagonists in the film. Their relationship dynamic is pretty sophisticated for an animated film. I think Susan Sarandon does an especially good job voicing her character, but I won’t go into more as I don’t want to be a spoiler.
I am a huge animal lover, so in animated movies, I often care less about the survival of the main human character, and more about whether or not the main character’s animal companion survives. It was the same with April and the Extraordinary World.
With cats being one of my favorite animals, I was on edge throughout the film over the well-being of Darwin the cat. The writers put Darwin through a lot.
Darwin is voiced by actor Tony Hale. Buster Bluth from Arrested Development, played by Tony Hale, is one of my favorite television characters. As the cat sounded exactly like Buster, my anxiety over the fate of Darwin was doubled.
April and the Extraordinary World takes place in an alternate reality. In a world where the most talented scientists continuously disappear, the world is stuck in the steam age.
Completed in a French cartoonist animation style, April and the Extraordinary World contains stunning animation.
I was so engrossed in the story, I know I have to watch the film again. Here and there my eye caught beautiful or clever extra details in the background or off to the side of the main action, and I’m sure there were a ton of details that I missed.
Being a Steampunk film, the world is filled with machines. There are black exhaust spewing cars, austere, steel cable cars, and of course, airships.
Plagued by excessive air pollution, gas masks are part of the fashion, and there is no lack of gears, coils, beakers and burners.
With nature practically non-existent, the alternate Paris is meant to be bleak and despairing, but despairing or not, the art is dazzling. The scene at the fair oozes imagination and Steampunk goodness.
Only in Animation
Before watching April and the Extraordinary World, I knew that it was a Steampunk themed story about a girl who goes on a search for her missing parents. I thought, I’m on board for that. The actual plot of the film went to a place I did not expect. It was a complete surprise, that I won’t spoil. I will say that it is something that could only be done in animation. Had they attempted to tell the story as a live-action film, it could have become fodder for the podcast, How Did This Get Made. It’s a story that perhaps could only work in live-action, if it was an episode of Doctor Who.Though the plot is bonkers, it’s easy to suspend your disbelief and just go along for the ride in its animation form.
April and the Extraordinary World was more extraordinary than I anticipated.
It has more of a YA vibe, so I’m not sure it’s a film that would interest little kids. There’s a good deal of humor, but the humor is subtle and clever. There isn’t a lot of slap-stick or silly humor. The plot is also deeply sci-fi.
If you are a lover of sci-fi, animation, and especially if like me, you get giddy over anything Steampunk, than April and the Extraordinary World is a must see.