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Leo Da Vinci: Mission Mona Lisa

Animated / Children
2020 / 82 minutes
Rating: 8/10

What would history’s most inventive mind have been like as a kid? In Leo Da Vinci we find out that he was crazy creative even as a lad. His best friend Lorenzo is every bit as up for an adventure, and their friend Lisa (first name, Mona) brings some needed sanity to this rambunctious mix. Add in some wacky inventions, like a hand-pedaled car that can (sort of) fly and the world’s very first diving suit, sprinkle in a few sharks, top it off with a dose of dastardly pirates, just a little romance, and a mystery to solve, and you’ve got the ingredients for an action-packed animated adventure.

Of course, this has very little to do with the actual Leonardo Da Vinci, which might be worth sharing with your kids, but it sure is loads of fun.


There are no big cautions, but a concern for parents would be the scariness. At one point Lisa sees a skeleton and has to move it over to get to a treasure chest underneath, though because the music isn’t too scary, this isn’t so bad. More worrisome is a shark scene, complete with ominous music – that’ll likely get a few small ones anxious. There are also the typical frantic chase scenes, though these involve a not-so-typical glider car that can also be a boat, fleeing from cannon fire. For a moment it even looks like Leo has been blown up. Parents can assure any little worriers that it all turns out okay.

The one exception to this happily-ever-after rule is a brief scene in which the pirates make a crewman “take a long walk on a short plank” and we don’t actually find out what happens to him – we hear a splash and we’re on to the next scene. No sharks are nearby, so… let’s just presume he swam to the nearby shore?


Leo is an Italian production, and that gives it a different feel than the fare we’re used to, which adds to the experience (it also means that the English dubbing doesn’t always sync up with the characters’ mouths).

While this is strictly a children’s film – teens will think it too kiddish – there’s enough complexity to keep mom and dad awake. For parents, the highlight might be the Tell Me Why song that pops up twice, and which is so dreadful it had me cry-giggling. I’ll share some of the lyrics but you really need to hear it!

When I am here with you,
I am a fish inside a creek,
and I don’t know how to speak.

Maybe a mobile phone could help,
so I could tell you, my dear,
what I can’t when you are near.

….But why do I have to try and be so bright
when all you need is just an ordinary guy?
…But why do I have to try invent a glider
when all you need is just a flower?

Leo is a fun adventure, with loads of action, and a good mix of guy and girl characters for both your sons and daughters to enjoy. Watch the trailer below.

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