François Descraques’ cult web-series returns nine years after its last season for an event film. Critical.
A true monument of French creations of the genre alongside Noob or Flanders Company, The Visitor from the Future is one of those jewels that marked a whole generation of French geeks. The French web-series directed by François Descraques was published between 2009 and 2014 with a broadcast on Dailymotion and Nolife (it does not make us younger). After four seasons full of twists and turns, the adventures of Raph and the Visitor were coming to an end following an explosive finale. This futuristic universe will also be derived in mangas and novels to extend its already rich lore. Over the years, the saga has proven itself, which now allows it to pass the door of French cinemas.
In preparation in the shadows since 2014, this film is very different from other productions originating on the Internet. There where The manor and Not Very Normal Activities were outright failures, The Visitor from the Future stands out as a science fiction film that holds the road as well as it pays homage to its heritage. Does the film live up to the web series and can it be enjoyed by everyone, including those who have never seen the original work? Answer in this guaranteed uncensored review of the Temporal Brigade.
Visitor from the future but humor from the past
If you go see this movie, this is what will happen! From its first minutes, the film stands out as the worthy successor to its original work and to others of its kind. Thanks to the humor so characteristic of the video platforms of the 2010s, the nostalgia is instantaneous and brings us back to an era of the web that we would have almost forgotten. Like the original series, we come across some emblematic figures of YouTube. Ludovik, Davy Mourier, Monsieur Poulpe or even Jenny Letellier and Valentin Jean represent different generations of content creation on the Internet.
With a cast full of talented actors accustomed to this type of production, the magic works without a hitch. We find the original cast: the Visitor (Florent Dorin), Raph (Raphaël Descraques) and Doctor Henry Castafolte (Slimane-Baptiste Berhoun) faithful to themselves and their characteristic chemistry. Unsurprisingly, their interactions with all these new characters are memorable and contribute to the very good narrative structure of the film. Fans will also have the pleasure of finding the character of Matteo, played by Mathieu Poggi for an additional dose of emotion. The most impressive is still the performance of Arnaud Ducret and Enya Baroux in the new roles of Gilbert and Alice Alibert.
The two newcomers have no trouble establishing themselves at the heart of this team that is already well established. This father and his daughter become the central elements of this new narrative frame, making it possible to create a story within everyone’s reach.
We are not in Neo-Versailles here!
There where The Visitor from the Future manages to shine, it is in its ability to offer an experience that can satisfy all viewers. Whether you are a fan of the first hour or simply curious to discover this new French science fiction film, you will find what you are looking for. Even if you don’t know The Burrow or the HQ of the Temporal Brigade that can be seen in the novel and the manga derived from the series, their installation is so natural that we rediscover them as the first time.
François Descraques, director of the series and the film, explained his desire to expand his universe while offering a new starting point for newcomers. The story of Gilbert and Alice fits perfectly into the lore we already know, and serves as a bit of a parallel for new viewers. As they discover the characters and this universe for the first time, everything is explained to them at the same time as to the public.
However, it is certain that fans will find guaranteed extra fun in it. Rediscovering this universe and seeing the characters of the paper works come to life on screen for the first time remains unparalleled. Audrey Pirault and Assa Sylla do honor to the score that François Descraques entrusted to them with a perfect incarnation of Louise and Belette. On all points, the production leaves its mark on the imagination of the spectators, a tour de force for a film that is ultimately quite modest, which is moreover inspired by a web-series made of odds and ends.
The year 2555 as you’ve never seen it before
Science fiction is mostly absent from the French cinematographic panorama. Very insignificant following bitter failures, the few films of the genre have often gone unnoticed, or else noticed for the wrong reasons, otherwise. It will be difficult for most ordinary spectators to remember significant works of the genre. Nevertheless, the arrival of Visitor from the Future in French theaters could well set a new standard in terms of futuristic storytelling in France.
Who would have thought that discovering a post-apocalyptic France completely destroyed by natural disasters could be so contemplative? And yet, the work done by the film crews to bring the year 2555 to life is magical. In the web-series, the screenwriters had to face a major adversary: production costs. In fact, the universe written by Descraques responds to certain early constraints. Humans then live underground, an effective ploy to represent a post-apocalyptic future at a lower cost. Although over the seasons the futuristic sets have developed and the special effects have multiplied, the ravaged world is often confined to an underground environment.
In the film, this aspect is partially preserved. After all, while the actions of Raph and the Visitor have helped make the surface less hostile, it doesn’t remain welcoming and full of zombies. However, the camera does not hesitate to explore these apocalyptic expanses, to create desolate and striking paintings. Even below ground level or in industrial areas, Descraques has an eye for detail. The well-thought-out physical sets once again make it possible to avoid useless special effects while contributing to the birth of a tangible universe.
The special effects without being numerous are very pleasant and carried by an artistic direction with small onions. The characters of Gilbert and Alice are shocked by this discovery, and the effect of surprise is the same on the spectators. But the spectators also find themselves surprised by the construction of this coherent universe. Moreover, these strong images coupled with the environmental message of the film allow a stronger emotional impact throughout the adventure. The Visitor from the Future manages to make a strength of each of its elements, so much so that it is difficult to find faults in it.