Published Feb 23, 2012First-time French director Antoine Charreyon delivers the quintessential black sheep of animated 3D films with sinister, eye-popping thriller The Prodigies. Based on a 1981 cult novel by Bernard Lenteric, the film follows an enraged group of child geniuses that go out of their way to wreak havoc on the world after they are brutally assaulted by two thugs in Central Park.
Although The Prodigies may appeal to the younger generation attracted to Pixar animated films, it contains an ample amount of visceral violence that will leave even the most level-headed adult disturbed beyond belief.
The Prodigies seethes with an invigorating level of ferocity right from its first frame, as viewers witness parents beating their gifted teenage son, Jimbo, inexplicably ending up dead moments later in what appears to be a "murder-suicide."
Jimbo is sent to a mental institution, where a rich philanthropist named Killian reveals to him that they share the same mind control powers, taking him out of the hospital to raise as his son.
Over a decade later, Jimbo (voiced by Jeffrey Evan Thomas), now a successful physics teacher at Killian's research Institute, discovers five child prodigies with the same powers he possesses. However, after Killian dies and the funding for future projects is scrapped by Killian's wicked daughter (voiced by Moon Daiily), Jimbo creates a reality contest show called American Geniuses in hopes of keeping the gifted five together.
Unfortunately one evening, two thugs assault the five young prodigies and after one of the five is viciously raped and left in a coma, the other four seek revenge on not only their attackers, but the world.
Initially The Prodigies will grab the audience's attention with its striking imagery, original concept and Hans Zimmer-inspired score, despite the fact that the film is full of asinine dialogue only heard in an overly hyped videogames. Regrettably, the rape scene is so distasteful that it will offend every viewer who doesn't consider Hentai porn a form of entertainment.
Despite the fact there are astounding 3D visual effects, including a memorably violent decapitation, the novelty factor quickly wears off and you're left with poorly developed characters, a matte painting background and 3D sim avatars that take away from the film's message, if there was any to begin with.
The Prodigies will appeal to a particular niche crowd, but for those who don't like their animated films featuring elements of Irréversible, best stay away. (eOne)