Mia and Me: The Hero of Centopia, is a feature film that continues the story from the children’s TV series, called Mia and Me.
Mia, voiced by Rosabell Laurenti Sellers, is a human girl that possesses a magic stone that allows her to transform into an elf and travel to Centopia, the world of elves and other magical creatures. Much like the television series, there is a mix of computer animation and live action sequences.
In the opening sequence, we are introduced to Iko, a new character for the movie. Lotus Island falls under attack from a villain named Toxor, when a magic seal fails, and he begins to turn the elves into his obedient minions!
The next scene is a live action sequence that introduces Mia, our female protagonist. It is quite corny and feels like it goes on just a little bit too long, as we are shown a montage of Mia and her Grandfather tidying up an old house. Once we get back to the animated sequences in the world of Centopia, the main plot begins to unfold, and our characters are given their quest to save the Elven kingdoms from Toxor.
I have not seen the tv show and honestly it took me about half an hour to feel like the plot was actually going somewhere. The typical tropes of the fantasy genre will roll out, a prophecy, a chosen one and a macguffin to chase after. These aren’t bad per se and were needed to drive the plot forward and make me feel engaged with the story. The general feel I get for this movie is that it’s much better suited for small children, but as an adult with my head eternally in the clouds, the fact that this movie has elves and unicorns, it is enough to pique my interest.
The character designs are nice, there’s lots of bright colours, patterns, and fantastic hairstyles. I particularly liked looking at each character’s outfits, as they all have their own colour palettes, which makes them stand out and it’s quite easy to tell who is who in the action scenes.
It’s interesting to note that King Raynor and Queen Maylor have outfits that seem to be inspired by the golden phase of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt’s artworks. Something perhaps that small children will not notice but for my fellow appreciators of art history it is a nice little Easter egg. There is also a stained-glass window with a pose that is definitely reminiscent of Klimt’s The Kiss painting.
Animation models are a little bit stiff at times and I would have liked to see more movement in their hair and more work put into the rigging of inverse kinematics so that human characters don’t move so robotically. But I doubt this project had a large Hollywood sized budget, so I can forgive that. Overall, the visual design is quite nice and really sets the scene for a beautiful fantasy land.
While Mia and Me: The Hero of Centopia doesn’t have any groundbreaking animation, it is pretty to look at and it’s sure to keep kids (and the young at heart) that love colourful worlds full of magic. entertained by its genre alone. However, adults in general will probably find the predictable plot lacking in depth and character dialogue a little bit cringy.