A painfully slow, uneventful, but very pretty animated film. An aging magician bonds with a young girl who is one of the few people still captivated by his tricks. With virtually no dialogue, this drama is essentially a silent film. The story is a melancholy mood piece, the entire plot carried by musical cues. Every now and then there’s a grunt or a mumble from a character to remind us that they’re human. Undeniably beautifully drawn the old fashioned way, without the use of computers. That’s admirable. It’s pretty to look at, but then so is a bouquet of flowers. Earning universal acclaim with critics championing it for its beauty, it was even nominated for Best Animated Film at the Oscars, edging out the much more deserving choices of Despicable Me and Tangled. However I cannot mistake beauty for depth. If that were the case, a sunset would be the most lovely film ever made. How to explain the widespread praise this movie has gotten? Perhaps it comforts the masses into feeling cultured and highbrow for supporting French Indie animation in a way that promoting a more mainstream (read Disney) motion picture does not. I suppose it’s the same habit that causes pseudo-intellectuals to exalt books like Pilgrim’s Progress or Paradise Lost over literature that the public actually enjoys. I’m not afraid to say it. Those books are boring and so is The Illusionist.