‘Tales of the Night’ Blu-ray/DVD Combo Set Review
As outsiders, it’s sometimes hard to truly appreciate what filmmakers go through to make a movie. Seeing countless films annually has desensitized us to the work filmmakers put in. Concurrently, major Hollywood productions have piped in exquisite technology and furthered our depreciation of the work ethic. One man’s dream – to make movies – is evident in Michel Ocelot’s Tales of the Night. Despite a fractured narrative, Ocelot’s dreams succeed despite conventional thinking about both animation and funding. Even if you don’t love how the movie is presented (or what is inside the story), you’re bound to love how committed he is to making his dreams come true.
Taking place in 6 segments, Tales of the Night is essentially 6 different short stories connected by three main characters who are imagining themselves creating these stories. The entire thing is animated, too, and Ocelot uses silhouette animation as his wildcard. He later points out that silhouettes force you to imagine the character yourself because he eliminates race and appearance. Even if the technique seems primitive, it may be innovative.
The 6 different segments are all fairy tales, adding a majestic and playful quality to the storytelling. Movies range from transforming werewolves to magical tam-tams to wizards and dragons. Even if the stories appear to be fantasy, their themes (which range from love to forgiveness and back again) ring truer than most live-action fairy tales.
While you may have reservations about the animation style, Ocelot (and the animators) do a fabulous job creating vivid imagery and pristine color palettes. Every single story has its unique “look” and they’re all gorgeous.
Most may find the fractured storytelling very distracting. I wonder if Ocelot wanted to connect the stories for audiences. However, it’s my guess the segmented nature is by design. Each story is streamlined and the whole thing is a lot easier to grasp. With differing settings and stories, you don’t really have time to linger on a story before something different is thrown at you.
For some, this will come down to preference. For some, you may only make it ten minutes before you give up. I beg you to keep going.
Tales of the Night may seem like a low-budget cut-and-paper style animation, but the Blu-ray transfer is stunning. It may be easier to appreciate live-action Blu-rays, but I can’t imagine how the colors look in any other quality. And, I don’t want to.
The greatness doesn’t stop there, either, because the Blu-ray has over 30 minutes of extra footage that will transform how you viewed the short stories.
The extra features include:
An Interview with Filmmaker Michel Ocelot – This 18+ minute interview touches on some key subjects, including story length (short vs. long stories), animation limits, color schemes, and the difference between crafting drawings and dialogue. Of all things (even the fairy tales), this will be the biggest inspiration for budding filmmakers.
The Festival of Color: Storytelling Through Animation Featurette – This 12+ minute feature follows Ocelot through the animation process. He is shown presenting the stories to audiences and spends time connecting with the people interested in seeing his short stories.
Original French Audio Track (with English Subtitles) – If you want to watch it as the original format, there’s an opportunity to listen to the French voice track.
US Trailer – A short look at the movie through its released trailer.
In all, Tales of the Night is successful both as a minimalistic approach to alternative storytelling and as high-quality animation. That may seem like an oxymoron, but Michel Ocelot’s color animations and focused approach is a visual and thematic hit.
Check out the Blu-ray/DVD Combo Set today.
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