Review: Bikes. The Movie
by Alfonso Rivera
- This educational family film in 3D animation, produced by a team which spans three continents, looks to instil a sense of respect in children vis-à-vis the environment and the fight against pollution
A finalist at the latest edition of the Goya Awards where it competed for the Best Animated Film accolade (an honour deservedly bestowed upon Another Day of Life [+see also:
interview: Raul de la Fuente
film profile]), and recently presented at the 2019 BAFICI - Buenos Aires International Festival for Independent Cinema -, Bikes. The Movie [+see also:
film profile] is the first film of its kind to be financed with a culmination of Spanish and Chinese capital (see our news). It’s a title aimed at children and which conveys an educational message, in an attempt to inculcate in its mini-viewers principles such as protecting the environment and nature conservation. The film was helmed by Manuel J García (who, in 2013, was solely responsible, directorially speaking, for another animated film: Gigantes, la leyenda de Tombatossals) and based on a screenplay written by John Michael Boughn and Michael Maurer with the help and guidance of Joel Jessup and Henrique Vera.
Bicycles are objects of great value in China, where Bikes. The Movie is due to be released following its premiere in Spain. The action takes place in Spokesville, a calm and peaceful city full of colourful trees. Here, the sun shines bright and the air is clean; buildings which are made from materials extracted from a mechanical laboratory alternate with structures which are markedly Asian in inspiration, and street signs are worded in Oriental characters. Endowed with eyes and mouths so as to appear more human-like - and thereby elicit the empathy of the audience (a gimmick already used in Cars by John Lasseter) - two-wheeled vehicles of the pedalled kind rub along happily in this town.
Playing the lead in this adventure is a green mountain bike called Speedy, who’s responsible for delivering mail in the neighbourhood. But, one day, the much-admired local hero, Rock Bikeson, returns home. At the behest of businessmen and unscrupulous bankers, he will try to convince his fellow-countrymen that, with an engine grafted onto their frames, their lives – and their speed – will improve, while taking care not to mention the nefarious consequences this will have for the environment.
Faced with the chaos caused by such a dubious example of technical progress, the determined Speedy, helped by his friends, Piñon, Gassy and Montana, will be forced to go up against Rock in a modern-day version of the Ben Hur chariot race. And, when he wins, it will fall to him to eradicate the materialistic and polluting ambitions overrunning the city.
In this sense, by way of its ecological message, Bikes. The Movie raises awareness of the need to use engineless vehicles, instead of the cars which currently pollute cities such as Peking, Madrid and Buenos Aires. But it also encourages values such as friendship, sportsmanship, teamwork and honesty. All this and more in a film of simple design; it’s drawn clearly and brightly, the characters are profiled to a tee (the baddies are messy and ugly, the pink bike is the protagonist’s best friend and a trio of bicycle pumps make for a comical addition) and the script comes complete with cycling terminology. But the best moment of the film is an entertaining recreation of popular Pacman-style videogames; a real treat for mums and dads who take their children to see Bikes. The Movie.
Bikes. The Movie is produced by Animation Bikes AIE (Spain), Aleph Media (Argentina) and CVC Group (China). The film will be distributed (and sold throughout the world) by Filmax, who are releasing it in Spain on 18 April. The original language is English.
(Translated from Spanish)
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