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The Inventor Review – Too Generic Yet Still Satisfying

The Inventor Review - FandomWire
The Inventor Review - FandomWire

I consider all existing animation styles to be indisputably packed with true artistic talent, but stop-motion is, without a doubt, the style that manages to constantly impress me. Any cinephile who has explored the behind-the-scenes of this type of filmmaking recognizes the insane work required to create movement, expressions, and ultimately, genuine emotion that can convey the respective narrative in a convincing manner. Jim Capobianco, a story artist and writer who worked at Pixar for several years – story credits on The Lion KingThe Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Ratatouille – brings the final phase of Leonardo da Vinci’s life to the big screen through The Inventor, the director’s first-ever feature film.

The Inventor Critique

The Inventor
The Inventor

Also Read: Pinocchio Review: The Worst Disney Adaption Yet

Over the many decades of cinema, countless stories have been told about the Italian polymath, so The Inventor would hardly stand out narratively. Therefore, Capobianco focuses more on the movie’s thematic messages, encompassing the film in a light atmosphere with surprising moments of humor. Whether it’s one-liners or visual elements, there are numerous amusing scenes that will please younger audiences, but will also put a smile on more experienced viewers’ faces.

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Stop-motion animation is, of course, to be commended. There are so many intricate details in each little figure that make all the characters distinct, complementing their respective personalities perfectly with subtle yet efficient expressions. The 2D drawing sequences scattered throughout the movie also provide an extra layer of visual beauty to The Inventor, beyond the inherent narrative impact they possess – da Vinci’s dreams and imagination are represented through this style. The period-inspired score by Alex Mandel (Super Giant Robot Brothers) is the icing on the audiovisual cake, elevating the musical numbers and wider shots.

However, the first problem with The Inventor arises here, namely with the sound mixing. The background music overpowers the actors’ voices quite often, making the understanding of dialogue, especially songs, extremely complicated and frustrating. Given that this review is based on a home viewing, the likelihood that a film theater will fix this issue is more than reasonable, but I can’t ignore the detrimental effect this aspect had on the movie’s enjoyment. It’s a shame because the cast’s voice work deserves much praise.

Stephen Fry (Missing Link) manages to infuse da Vinci’s curiosity and passion for the meaning of life and the pursuit of the human soul in his voice, giving a genuine feeling of someone who says what he feels. Gauthier Battoue (Emily in Paris) appears to be having tremendous fun in the recording booth, considering the vivacity he offers to the voice of King Francis, a character fascinated by the protagonist’s creations. Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) also stands out with an almost angelic vocal performance while playing Princess Marguerite, while Marion Cotillard (Annette) has a stronger, more rigid presence as Louise of Savoy.

The Inventor
The Inventor

Thematic messages fulfill their narrative purpose but are too generic and superficial to leave a mark. The Inventor‘s story is basic and simple, but still too refined for younger audiences and not that exciting for older viewers. It’s not a story that remains in memory, that’s told in a unique, creative manner, nor is it structured in a thoroughly captivating way – Capobianco transitions between stages of the narrative somewhat hastily.

That said, it’s still a brief watch with enough entertainment to take the film to safe harbor. Also, a remark about the end credits, which show behind-the-scenes footage. Regardless of whether you leave satisfied or disappointed with The Inventor, I recommend staying after the lights come up, as it’s always rewarding to witness the dedication, commitment, and impressive talent that go into creating a movie of this kind.

In Conclusion

The Inventor cannot escape its script’s creative limitations and generic messages, but it remains a somewhat interesting viewing, full of humorous moments and pure audiovisual beauty. The fantastic stop-motion animation stands out, but the 2D sequences are just as, if not more, captivating. Alex Mandel’s score is crucial to the film’s entertainment levels, along with the vocal performances of the cast, especially Stephen Fry as Leonardo da Vinci. Apart from a few more sound mixing problems, Jim Capobianco doesn’t disappoint, but I’ll be waiting for a deeper, more memorable sophomore feature film.


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Written by Manuel São Bento

Portuguese critic based in Sweden with a tremendous passion for cinema, television, and the art of filmmaking. Strives to offer an unbiased perspective and has stopped watching trailers since 2017. Rotten Tomatoes approved. Co-host of a weekly film podcast, R&M: A Conversation on Cinema. Outlets: FandomWire, Firstshowing, InSession Film, That Shelf, Filmhounds Magazine, Echo Boomer (PT), Magazine. HD (PT). Proud member of associations such as GFCA (Global Film Critics Association), IFSC (International Film Society Critics), and OFTA (Online Film & Television Association).