Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia - Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Apr 4, 2017
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Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia

Movie: :4stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :4stars:
Final Score: :4stars:

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I remember picking up 2012’s Ernest & Celestine from a used Hastings that was going out of business YEARS ago for just a couple of bucks not thinking much of it. I was looking for new Blu-rays to add to my collection, and $3 (or so) for a used Blu-ray that looked kinda cute from the trailer wasn’t that big of a risk. Color me surprised when I found it to be a complete hit in my house, ranging from my young nephews and nieces (who were all single digits at the time) all the way up to my wife and I. The film was a delightfully charming new IP from France, with a sweet story of love and acceptance in a mild children’s adventure story. Fast forward 10 years (from the original film’s release, not when I picked up the Blu-ray sometime in 2016) and the creators are back with another story of the bear and mouse friendship, this time with spectacular results.

Waking up from his winter hibernation, Ernest (Lambert Wilson) is looking to fill his belly and get back to work, while his mouse friend Celestine (Pauline Brunner) is just happy to have her friend back after a lonely winter of him sleeping it off. Sadly her excitement leads to the accidental destruction of Ernest’s prized “Stradibearious” violin, leading the duo on an adventure back to Ernest’s home town of Gibberitia. The only thing is, Ernest isn’t exactly looking forward to going home, as he was sort of on bad terms with his mother and father when he last left. You see, Ernest’s life as a traveling musician and odd job’s connoisseur was NOT exactly what the old fashioned family wanted. In his family the boys became Judges while the women went into the medical field, so Ernest leaving to be a simple street musician sort of put a black spot on his family’s record.

Not wanting to return to his old stomping grounds, Ernest reluctantly agrees to follow Celestine back to Gibberitia only to find out that while his Stradibearius can be repaired, music itself (except for one single note) has been outlawed by the judges who reside over his town (headed up by none other than Ernest’s father himself). Getting thrown in prison by the music police for playing a bit on the street corner, Ernest and Celistine soon find themselves embroiled in adventure that will change the very fabric of Gibberitia forever.

A bit more plot heavy than the whimsical first adventure, A Trip to Gibberitia is just as delightful and sweet as the original is. This time adding a more story centric twist to their friendship. The excitement and charm of the duo is palpable, with the fantastic voice acting (in both English and French) and a classic tale of “changing up old traditions” that has been done a dozen times over with films like Chocolate, or Footloose without seeming rote and overly well worn. Arrival in Gibberitia allows time to explore and let loose in the new setting, changing us up from the big city to an old French country side location. The tale isn’t going to be overly complex or new (as I said, you’ve seen the tale of “new ideas being rejected by the older class” a million times before), but it is still sweet and charming, which is where the audience is really going to feel the draw. Ernest is kind but brow beaten by his parents, while Celestine is your typical bubbly sidekick. The real joy comes from Ernest’s sister Mila, who provides a much needed foil to both of them.


Not Rated by the MPAA

Video: :4stars:
The 1.85:1 framed AVC encode looks great on Blu-ray, with the watercolor like animation style really coming alive. There’s not a TON of overly bright and over saturated colors, but instead focuses more on brown hand drawn animated back drops, and lovely rich pastels and simple primary shades. Nuances appear in the sky and on the mountain backdrop of the town of Gibberitia, but otherwise the animation style is fairly simple and not overly detailed (which isn’t a problem of the encode, but rather the simple animation style chosen for the film). Blacks are clean and clear of any banding or crush, and scenes in the damp jail showcase great fine details. Banding does crop up though, just not as much in the darker shots as I expected, and I feel that the compression of the disc may have been a bit overly aggressive. Otherwise a solid disc.

Audio: :4.5stars:
Like usual, Shout sports dual 5.1 DTS-HD MA tracks in both the original French and English (with my vote going for the French track, as it sounds more authentic), and both will have VERY limited differences between the two. Both mixes have robust and powerful musical bits, with strong dialog and a great sense of immersion when Ernest starts playing his violin. There’s some punchy bass near the beginning, and during the final “crash” in the auditorium, but otherwise the LFE is a bit more laid back and less noticeable than others of the same ilk. All in all, this is a great sounding mix though, with strong dynamics and a really robust score that simply carries the entire production.

Extras: :4stars:
• Making Of
• Interview With The Directors
• Interview With The Cast
• Interview With Producer Didier Brunner
• How To Draw Ernest & Celestine
• Trailers

Final Score: :4stars:

I know I’ve said it several times above, but the best way to describe Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Gibberitia is that it’s simply “delightful”. The story focuses on love and loss, new ideas vs. old, and acceptance of everyone despite the choices they make whether you agree with them or not. The story is simplistic and non assuming, but that’s what makes it so much like your typical comfort food. It’s warm, inviting, and you slip into the story with an almost unfelt ease that comes naturally. The Blu-ray looks and sounds great, with some VERY solid extras thanks to Gkids (and of course Shout Studios for releasing it). Very fun watch.

Technical Specifications:

Starring: Lambert Wilson, Pauline Burnner, Michael Lerousseau, Christopher Lemoine, Levanah Solomon
Directed by: Julien Chhleng, Jean-Christophe Roger
Written by: Agnes Bidaud, Diddier Brunner, Guillaume Mautalent
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: French: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Studio: Shout Studios
Rated: NR
Runtime: 81 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: January 16th, 2024

Recommendation: Fun Watch

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