FREEDOM FORCE

Release date 15 November 2013 (US)

GALLERY

Giant poster of the French President's wife in a bikini First Lady of France admiring her bikini poster The giant octoups The imaginasium The professor Nicole, we are advised becomes a martial arts action star and an animal rights activist Nicole and the bookworm - happily ever after Diving suit - Freedom Force Ninja Nicole

Sarah Michelle Gellar - Nicole
Christopher Lloyd - The Professor

Other voices: Christopher Collet, Marc Thomson, Jay Snyder, Jason Griffith, Erica Schroeder, Eric Stuart, Veronica Taylor, Gregory Abbey, Vinnie Penna, and Kathy Pilon.

The stories of Jules Verne are being edited by a mysterious force, and the French government recruits a team of 12-year-olds (because Verne began writing at that age) to correct the matter. They are to be sent into the imagination of Mr. Verne with the aid of a machine called The Imaginasium.

Freedom Force poster Because Mr. Verne is said to have invented the reset button (Captain Nemo's watch had a start/stop/reset indicator) the goal of this team of pre-teens is to enter each of Verne's stories, find and push the reset button, and move on to correct the the next corrupted text. Once you buy the premise, the film moves along nicely and is quite engaging.

Now for the quibbles. The film entirely ignores the laws of physics, and what we know about the space between the earth and the moon. Also, there are only two female characters in the entire movie. One of them is the First Lady of France (who is portrayed as something of a ditz) and the other is Nicole, who, unlike the other team members selected to reflect bookishness, flatulence, and geekery found in Verne's own personality, was chosen because she is the direct descendant of Verne's cousin, who was also his lover. Nicole is a martial arts expert. So only two female characters, and only one of them shown in at least partially a good light.

Jules Verne Quibbles aside, this movie will get kids interested in science fiction and possibly Jules Verne if they have any inclination in that direction to begin with.

There is a marvelous scene in which the American President (who looks a bit like Lincoln) is discussing the implementation of Verne's notion of a missile to the moon. (Verne proposed launching a missile powered by gunpowder.) There is this exchange:
LINCOLN: Gentlemen, good news. After much research we have now come to the conclusion that we Americans now have the ability for the first time to assemble a kind of giant bullet which will carry a crew of humans inside it and will actually be able to make the journey to the moon.
[A figure in a diving suit materializes in the air and falls onto the conferernce table.]
LINCOLN: Who are you?
NEMO: I am Nemo, Captain and inventor of the Nautilus.
LINCOLN: Are you a member of our gun club?

It might also be noted that the French President and his wife bring to mind Sarkozy and Carla Bruni, although there is never a direct reference.

In 2012, the film was released in Peru, Russia, Armenia and Kuwait as The Illusionauts. Pokemon writer Kathy Borland Pilon did the english adaptation of the story by Abraham Vurnband.