Just off the coast of a dank, teeming harbor town, a horrible scientist named Krank (Daniel Emilfork) lives on a mist-shrouded rig. He is aging prematurely because he lacks one vital function: the ability to dream. Krank's henchmen, a community of Cyclops, kidnap children from town and take them to Krank's inhospitable laboratory, so that Krank can tap into their dreams, invade them, and make them his own. In the laboratory, Krank is assisted by the pint-sized Miss Bismuth (Mireille Mosse); a disembodied (and philosophy-spouting) brain known as Irvin (voiced by Jean-Louis Trintignant); and six identical Clones (all portrayed by Dominique Pinon).

The latest little kidnappee is a voracious toddler named Denree (Joseph Lucien). Although Denree remains impressively calm, his adopted brother, One (Ron Perlman), a circus strongman, is distraught. While searching high and low for his "baby brother," One is shanghaied by Miette (Judith Vittet), a nine-year-old femme fatale. Miette is the undisputed leader of a gang of orphans who, like petite resistance fighters, have developed ingenious strategies to survive, and evade, the sinister forces at work.

The brave little girl and the gentle giant need each other: she has the brains, while he has the brawn. Together, the pair embark on a series of wondrous but harrowing adventures. They escape the clutches of Siamese twin sisters (collectively known as The Octopus) who operate both an orphanage and a black-market business. They encounter an amnesiac Diver (Dominique Pinon) who collects refuse from the bottom of the harbor...and whose striking resemblance to Krank's Clones is the key to the mystery of Krank and his fiendish plotting. One and Miette must ultimately challenge Krank and his ultra-dysfunctional "family" on a level playing field -- within the world of a little boy's dream.

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