Little Nicholas: Happy as Can Be
Little N-Name movies are all the rage! After all, we had Little Nemo, Little Nicky, and now Little Nicholas. Two of those three are based on comic strips in the past, Little Nemo came out first as a movie but…also was the first of the comic strips, okay. But like, a few decades later, Little Nicholas comic strip was made in France and a lot of people had a good time with it. Most of them were French, to be honest. And a lot more of them were people alive during that time period.
Hell during the 1950’s I was just busy not existing. So I didn’t know about it at the time. However, the two creators of the comic also did a lot of other things in their lives.
Like one of them was also the inventor of Asterix comics, a pretty famous European dude. And the other, did a lot of famous artwork covers for The New Yorker magazine for decades.
But with their powers combined, they made Little Nicholas, and this is their story.
If you actually had to write that tiny, you’d have to jump on each letter.
That’s right, this isn’t just a cute story about Little Nicholas going to school, playing, and having fun. No, this is actually about the creators! Fooled you? Maybe?
René Goscinny (Alain Chabat), famous comic inventor of Asterix and other works, who had already lived a nice life. He meets up with Jean-Jacques Sempé (), another artist, who has been given a job based off of his drawings, but isn’t known for making stories well. So he wants to use René to get the stories for his work, and they can be a tag team duo, and make something great together.
And that is it. They do that. They make Little Nicholas (Simon Faliu) and people like it. They expand his universe and people like it. They even make some shorts I guess? People like that too.
But in the movie we also have Nicholas popping from the page, to talk to his creators, to find out about their lives. So we get to have a biographical film in that regard, in between Little Nicholas segments I guess that were big in the comments, like playing with friends and family members and school.
“Let’s make a child together,” said the straight man to another.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this animated work. Even when I read the description, about one making the plot, the other illustrating. Based on the image, I just sort of assumed it was a guy drawing a tiny kid, and the kid coming alive, to make his plot for him to draw. A weird surreal sort of thing. Like a genie in a bottle.
So of course I didn’t know that this was a reference to a European comic, and honestly, I still barely know that it is based on a European comic. Just because it has had, as far as I can tell, no impact on my life. I don’t think I’ve seen a short, or a comic, about Little Nicholas. I am sure where it was famous, it got really famous as just one of those post World War II quaint slice of life stories. Nothing that would excite me now, but maybe something used for very young kids still today.
The people this movie feels aimed for honestly are likely those nostalgic about the story. I think a regular kid wouldn’t love this story at all, because they won’t give a fuck about the authors and their lives. But at the same time, the art style was very nice (and going for a Little Nicholas feel), and the idea behind this movie was pretty unique. Tell the story of two animators, in the style of one of their animations, while also giving parts of the animations story as well? Nice. Can’t wait to see someone else do a documentary about Werner Herzog’s life in the style of Werner Herzog.
This family film, biographical film hybrid told me a unique story in a unique way. It isn’t something I know my own kids will care about, but it is still an interesting concept overall. I hope animators always continue to try new things like this. And yes, I know I am saying that despite this being a 1950’s art style.