The production of animated films has been dominated by North America and Japan for decades. Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks and Studio Ghibli have monopolised the market. However, in recent years European animators have been back on the rise. The Triplets of Belleville, The Secret of Kells, Persepolis and Song of the Sea have showcased some of the talent working in Europe. Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli, the duo behind A Cat in Paris, return with another impressive outing, Phantom Boy.

Leo has been diagnosed with cancer and has to go into hospital for treatment. This devastates his family but Leo has discovered a secret. When he sleeps he can leave his body and go anywhere he likes. He’s desperate to be a detective and when he meets Alex (Jared Padalecki), an injured New York cop, they decide to team up. They need to thwart a master criminal, The Face (Vincent D’Onofrio), whose plan is the destruction of the city.

Phantom Boy is very old school in terms of plot and animation, which is refreshing in a world of neon 3D. It’s a joy to see these kind of films still being made, harking back to an era of Tintin and black and white American cop shows. The story itself reminds me of one of the pulp detective novels which Leo so loves. Phantom Boy is a wonderful animation. Whilst the story is by no means original or classic, it’s a highly entertaining yarn with a big heart.

Phantom Boy is out in cinemas from Friday.