The Inventor


Considering his vast contribution to culture and science, there really haven’t been that many films about Leonardo da Vinci. You would think a triple A star would have had a go by now, putting on some dodgy Italian accent. But no.

The Italian polymath gets some love and recognition however in Jim Capobianco’s debut full-length animated feature, includes the vocal talents of Stephen Fry, Daisy Ridley, Marion Cotillard and Matt Berry.

boom reviews The Inventor
I wasn't expecting a song and dance number in this. Were you?!

Working in the court of Poe Leo X (Berry) is celebrated inventor Leonardo da Vinci (Fry). Unfortunately for Leonardo, his passion for science and anatomy especially, frighten the Pope, who considers teaching him a lesson, which would prove to be rather painful.

Luckily for Leo, he becomes friends with Francis I (Gauthier Battoue), the King of France, after creating a peaceful resolution between their two nations.

This finds Leo and his companions whisked off to Amboise, where the king is keen for him to start on some grand projects, but Leo literally has other ideas. Can he persuade that his projects have merit?

boom reviews The Inventor
So now I can swipe either left or right you say?

Considering how much work it takes to make an animated film, there’s a certain resentment in not being complimentary about an effort such as this. But despite the love that has gotten into make it, the result is sadly on the bland side.

Firstly there’s the stop motion animation, which is very basic, with none of the characters unable to produce a significant amount of facial expressions. And then there is some 2D animation, which again is very rudimentary, that only appears to be included to demonstrate an idea that is just beyond the ability of the stop motion world. Unfortunately with neither element exactly impressing, the film as a whole is all too dull.

Which is surprising considering its US director Capobianco has a history with Pixar, which as well as being a story artist on many of their features, also includes co-writing 2007’s Ratatouille . But the story here is painfully flat, with no entertaining characters or dialogue – and no, doing a funny French accent doesn’t count as entertainment. At times it comes across as edu-animation for pre-schoolers, as a way of educating them as to who Da Vinci was.

The fact is, history has been delivered in so many engaging ways over the years, from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the BBC classic comedy Blackadder, to the Children’s TV show Horrible Histories, that there’s no excuse to make an underwhelming feature, especially about one of the world’s most creative minds.

You’re also shooting yourself in the animated foot by casting Berry as the pope, and just not utilising his comedic talents; the fact he doesn’t have a bit of fun until the end of the film’s credits is just poor judgement.

And to add insult to a whole lot more injury, there are a number of songs included that are just woeful, as if were made up on the spot to get them out of a fix in other areas. It didn’t work.

You would hope that a film with this title would have some creativeness up its sleeve, but alas that sadly wasn’t the case here, with nothing on show but a blueprint for boredom.

we give this two out of five