It's a very tiny quibble that never detracts while watching the film, but it's a feeling that keeps creeping up on me as time goes by.
I clearly prefer this film over Amélie, if only for the darker and freakier setting.
If you're a fan of Delicatessen and you haven't seen The City of Lost Children it's really a no-brainer.
Think Amélie but with a darker, more adventurous and boyish edge. It's a good 100 minutes of fun in a recognizable but still outlandish version of Paris, hosted by a gang of endearing weirdos.
The good stuff
Jeunet had a lot to prove with this film, coming right after the success of Amélie. A Very Long Engagement isn't quite at the same level, not as joyous or creative as his most famous work, but it is a lovely film that combines war and romance in the best way possible. The cinematography is warm and polished, the soundtrack is moody and stylish, and the cast is a real who's who of the French acting world. Jeunet's quirky style gives the film a welcome dose of flair, and even though it's a tad long, there is so much beauty here that I didn't mind the extra padding. A Very Long Engagement hasn't aged a bit, still as fine as the first time I watched it.
Big Bug is Jeunet by way of Verhoeven. A sci-fi pastiche, but with a quirkier and softer edge. It's an odd film that never really finds its footing, at the same time it's a one of a kind project and a welcome alternative to many other sci-fi films that fail to deliver a more serious take on the subject.
A ragtag group of characters finds themselves locked inside a house, while androids are seizing control over the country. Escape proves impossible, and their situation becomes more troublesome with every passing minute. No matter what they try to better their situation, the computers have them beat every time.
A Robocop-like bad guy and cynical adverts reference the work of Verhoeven, the kitsch styling feels more like a sci-fi take on Ozon's 8 Women. It's nice to see Jeunet return with a new film and Big Bug certainly has its moments, but it's a bit too safe and pleasant to leave a strong impression. Some nice designs and quirky plot twists make this a worthwhile watch, just don't expect prime Jeunet.