Long Way North is set in late 19th Century Saint Petersburg. Sacha, a young girl from the Russian aristocracy, has always been fascinated by the exciting life of her grandfather, Oloukine, a renowned scientist and Arctic explorer who has yet to return from his latest expedition to conquer the North Pole. But Sacha’s parents, who have already made arrangements for her marriage, strongly disapprove of her fascination, to say the least. Defying her parents’ wishes, Sacha flees her home and launches an adventure-filled quest toward the Great North in search of her grandfather and his ship. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “There are animated films that don’t use animation to its full potential and treat it as a tool instead of an art. Long Way North is not one of these films for it is a beautifully crafted animated masterpiece.” Alejandra G. adds, “I like the film because the events are so unexpected. I would predict that something would happen and then, something completely different happened and I would stare at the screen in shock.” See their complete reviews below.
Long Way North
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14
There are animated films that don’t use animation to its full potential and treat it as a tool instead of an art. Long Way North is not one of these films for it is a beautifully crafted animated masterpiece. Long Way North, at its core, is an adventure – not just a physical one, but an emotional one for the protagonist, Sacha. With so many dangerous moments, there is a multitude of action scenes filled with drama and intensity. This film will inspire you with its heartwarming story.
The story takes place in 1880s St. Petersburg, Russia. Sacha (Christa Théret) is a young girl from a very successful family. She doesn’t have her eyes on politics or wealth. Instead, Sacha has her eyes on the North Pole. After her grandfather disappears on a voyage to the North Pole, she makes it her mission to find him. It won’t be easy, she has never worked in her entire life and she will have to do it without her wealthy parents’ support.
One thing that is truly spectacular about this movie is how quickly you understand the conflict, protagonist, plot and goals of the protagonist. Within the first five minutes, I knew the names of each character, Sacha’s hopes and dreams, her challenges and why her character is unique. Very few films can achieve this with even a simple plot which shows how well the film’s story is shown. Another beautiful part of the film is the animation. It is hand drawn and very colorful. The style perfectly suits the story and seamlessly shows the different elements of the movie, from big ice cliffs to the stormy seas. One aspect of the film I disliked is the voiceover acting and dubbing. The movie was recorded originally in French and is dubbed in English. Many times, the voices are very emotional and perfectly fit the characters, but at times the voices are too soft and sound as if they were recorded in a room somewhere and not where the action is taking place. Despite this, turning on sub-titles completely removes this issue and it is still a very entertaining and enjoyable film.
My favorite scene is when Sacha first leaves the large mansion, surrounded by the maids she grew up with. What appeals to me about this scene is how connected you feel to this young girl. You can feel her fear, excitement and wonder that she is experiencing. It is all achieved, thanks to the amazing story, wonderful animation and unique, but relatable characters.
Parents have very little to worry about in this film. In a few scenes, there is some mild language, but that’s it. I recommend it for ages 5 to 18. It is intended to be a kid’s film, but because of the mature and inspiring story, I believe that teenagers and young adults will enjoy it as well. I give it 4 ½ out of 5 stars because it only has one small issue with the dubbing and voice-overs, but it is truly a work of art and something the whole family can enjoy watching. This film is available on DVD on January 17, 2017 so, go check it out. You’re sure to enjoy this adventure.
Long Way North
By Alejandra G., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14
I loved this film. It surprised me a lot. In the beginning, it was a bit boring, but as the movie progressed, it got better and better. I like the film because the events are so unexpected. I would predict that something would happen and then, something completely different happened and I would stare at the screen in shock. I love that feeling because it’s exciting. For me, when that happens, when you don’t know what’s going to happen next or that anything could happen, it makes the film intriguing and interesting. You are curious about what will happen next.
The movie takes place in 19th Century Saint Petersburg when a young girl from the Russian aristocracy named Sacha suffers over the fate of her grandfather. He is a renowned scientist and Arctic explorer who has yet to return from an expedition to the North Pole. Against the wishes of her parents, who have made marriage arrangements for her, Sacha flees home and launches her quest to search for her grandfather and his ship.
My favorite part is when Sacha saves the captain from falling off a cliff and dying. I like this scene because Sacha manages to win the captain’s respect. Sacha was very judged and underestimated by the crew and captain, but she manages to prove all of them wrong. With her hard work and dedication, she shows them who she really is. Everyone finally starts respecting her and treats her respectfully. After she saves the captain’s life, they stopped judging her.
The life lesson taught in this film is to never underestimate anyone, because you can be surprised. You can be surprised at who they really are or how they might change to attain a goal. Don’t ever judge a book by its cover. Sacha changes throughout the movie in a huge way. She starts out as a spoiled girl that doesn’t know how to work or make herself useful. But she is also very decided and dedicated in what she wants to accomplish and she will do anything to get that, even if it means preparing herself to work. During her journey, the sailors have very little faith in her and judge her heavily. They think she is a superficial girl that doesn’t know what she is doing, but they are wrong. Sacha manages to prove the ship’s crew that she is courageous, determined and a special young woman through her actions. So, this film teaches us an important lesson, to never judge a person by they way they look. You don’t know what that person is capable of doing to achieve something that’s important to them.
I recommend this movie to kids ages 6 to 14 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. This film is available now on DVD so, go check it out.
Credit: KIDS FIRST!