Tales of the Night – Blu-ray Review

Tales of the Night. This is an animated film from Michel Ocelot. Not being at all familiar with Ocelot’s work, I sat down to watch this film pretty much completely oblivious. I popped in the Blu-ray, and pressed play.

Basically, the film takes place in an old abandoned theater. The three main character’s are an old man and two young children who spend their time writing stories together and then acting them out. Whoa, hold on there buddy. This is a children’s movie. G rated! No pedophiliac hanky-panky here. As the story goes on, we (the audience) get to see the short stories these characters write come to life as if we were in their imagination. Each story is interesting, beautiful, and fun to watch.

However, by the third story, I found myself a little bored. It seemed as thought there was some sort of disconnect for me somewhere in the film. After thinking on this for a while I realized that the dialog was very repetitive and seemed to pander to the audience. Upon further thinking (a.k.a. reading the back of the Blu-ray case) I came to the conclusion that the animator is French. The film was originally written to be in French. Which means that this, my friends, is a foreign film. This makes a great deal more sense to me now. The film is after all very European. Meaning that it has that certain European je ne sais quoi that most foreign films from that region have. One must watch this film with the fact that it is foreign in mind or they would have the same confused viewing experience that I did.

After understanding that aforementioned fact, I was able to better understand and enjoy the film. The style of this film is extremely artsy and succeeds where the visuals are concerned. The silhouetted foreground and characters against the stunningly colorful backgrounds that are featured throughout the whole of the film are gorgeous. However as a children’s movie this artwork (while beautiful) runs the risk of leaving a child bored after a few minutes. It feels as though this style of artwork is more for adults than children. Which would be fine if the stories were more geared toward adults as well. They are not. Each story was nothing more than what one might find in a  book. One can only hear so many of those before being able to guess the ending based on the story’s beginning and style.

There was nothing in this film that was bad. I give it a thumbs up and do recommend it. It looks stunning on Blu-ray and audio was crisp and a pleasure to listen to. The special edition Blu-ray includes a DVD of the film as well. While the bonus features are pretty standard, I did enjoy watching the interview with the filmmaker and learning what he, as an artist, thought of what he made. My final opinion on Tales of the Night is that it is a good movie, and worth the watch.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Joan Thompson

I’m just some chick who really loves movies. Some of my favorites (I could write down all of them, but let’s be honest who would read all of that?) include 28 Days Later, Hard Candy, Underworld, Robin Hood Men in Tights, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, X-Men First Class, and Gladiator. Then I have all my favs from the kid’s section, The Dark Crystal, The Never Ending Story, and yes of course, the Disney Prinsess movies. Pocahontas is da best. And pretty much all of the Pixar movies. (Pixar, we worship thee!) Really all I want to say is, I’m a chick but that doesn’t mean that I like chick flicks. It is true that I love me some teen drama accompanied by bad acting. But that is a truly guilty pleasure and I usually only watch the things like that that have some kind of monsters in them. (swoon, Teen Wolf) Anyway, the kinds of movies that I absolutely love are the ones that make me think. The kind of movies that have wonderful production value and are a pleasure to look at. The best movies, for me, are the ones that don’t fall appart as soon as you start to look at them a little more closely. I look for movies that don’t have the same plot structure that I’ve seen a thousand times, or at least new and interesting storys that make me forget that fact. Well written, artful cinematography, and passionately acted, these are the things that I look for in the movies I watch. Those things are the things I find in the movies I love.

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