Tales of the Night Reviews
The film breaks into six separate adventures.
Night of the Werewolf. Being a prince and a werewolf in the 15th century. Happy ending on this one; murderous deceit receives justice instead of monetary reward.
Jon Jon and Beauty Not Knowing. On a Caribbean island, Jon Jon explores a deep cave which is the country of the dead. The only other living being is the princess whose name is Beauty Not Knowing. Jon Jon befriends the 3 monsters he was warned to kill. The father of the princess sets him three tasks. The 3 monsters help him through the final tests. Jon Jon goes back to his girl friend in the land of the living.
The City of Gold. The Boy saves The Girl from being a human sacrifice, but at a cost.
Tom-Tom Boy. Set in a village in the African bush. Everyone in the village tells Tom-Tom Boy to learn something useful, and to get lost in the meantime. He saves an old man's life out in the wild. This man is the custodian of the magic tom-tom, 'whose rhythms no one can resist.' He plays for the custodian, who teaches him to do more with it.
The Boy Who Never Lied. Set in Tibet. Two king each wager half their kingdoms on whether or not the Boy can be made to lie. The princess volunteers to help her father get the Boy to lie. The Boy's horse speaks; the princess' mare can sing. The lying princess acts sick, and claims that she must eat the heart of his talking horse. The horse, Melonge, gives up his life so that his heart can be claimed. The Boy serves up the heart, but the princess leaves with the heart untouched. Ah, sadness. But the Boy and his king are rewarded, and the princess admits the vileness of what she has done.
The Young Doe and the Architect's Son. Zachariac, the sorcerer, has a young ward, Maud, who falls in love with the architect's son, Thibault. Thibault climbs Zachariac's dread tower to rescue Maud. He encourages her to agree to marry Zachariac, with the understanding that Thibault will interrupt the process before it is complete. Thibault and Maud escape via a secret trapdoor in the cathedral. Zachariac renounces Maud, and changes her into a doe who only runs from Thibault. Thibault and his father's friend find the palace of a fairy ally of the architect. Can the complete the resolution?
Art/Animation: 10/10 Though only in one style, wonderful throughout.
Sound: 10/10 No problems. Liked the incidental music.
Acting: 10/10 Beautifully voiced.
Screenplay: 10/10 Difficult and wonderful.
i docked 2 stars bec it took me forever to calm my traumatized six year old down.
Film follows the modern-day framing gadget where an actor, actress and director sit before a theater proscenium, drafting quick stories and ultimately casting themselves in the classically styled tales they've imagined, formulating costumes and witty tricks to get through complicated situations in each story.
I didn't find the stories 'intriguing', it rather looked like artificially carved out, to present predictable circumstances that follow. Michel has offered us unique and visually-striking films like Kirikou and the Sorceress; however this seemed loose at storytelling, and bothering voice actors (particularly the lead male character).
The film is comprised of six short stories, all fantastical and child-friendly. Like so often, this French production is so much more suitable for young audiences than Hollywood fare and at the same time delivers enough pleasure for any audience member with its gorgeous visuals.
The style of the film is unprecedent, nothing like I've seen before, I'd describe it as shadow animation but I have no idea what it's really called. Mostly wonderful animation though.
The stories themselves are all fantastical and take us to exotic places and they all resolve around some kind of prince and princess, but, as a serious movie watcher, who isn't a child anymore, I have to say, they lack cohesion and a satisfying suspense ark. That's because they're terribly shortened down to fit the attention span of a child.
I can't say I was surprised about it, I've seen similar problems, but I still prefer films like Tales of the Night to heart- and soulless US animation.