Blu-ray Review "Tales of the Night"

talesofthenightDirectors: Michel Ocelot
Rated: Unrated
Studio: NEW VIDEO GROUP
DVD Release Date: January 29, 2013
Run Time: 84 minutes

Film: 2 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

When it comes to animation, especially Foreign animation, I am always drawn in. This film looked very interesting from its description and colorful presentation. The film itself though isn’t as exciting. I have to give it to Michel Ocelot though for delivering a unique approach to this animation process. The stories are told through the idea of shadows. Visually the film looks great especially on Blu-ray but I just wasn’t really drawn in with the stories. There are six “Tales” in this film:

1) The Werewolf
2) Ti Jean and the Belle-Sans-Connaitre
3) The Chosen One And The City Of Gold
4) Boy Tam-Tam
5) The Boy Who Never Lied
6) The Doe-Girl And The Architect’s Son

Official Premise: From the imagination of internationally renowned animator Michel Ocelot (Kirikou and the Sorceress, Azur & Asmar) comes a magical and visually stunning new film, delighting kids, families and animation fans of all ages. Silhouetted characters are set off against exquisitely detailed Day-Glo backgrounds bursting with color and kaleidoscopic patterns, as the film weaves together six exotic fables each unfolding in a unique locale, from Tibet, to medieval Europe, and even the Land of the Dead. In Ocelot’s celebrated storytelling, history blends with fairytale as viewers are whisked off to visit enchanted lands full of dragons, shape-shifting werewolves, captive princesses, and enormous talking bees – and each fable ends with its own ironic twist.

This release is delivered by New Video Group in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.  The 1080p transfer in presented with an aspect ratio of 1.77:1. Like I said above it does look very sharp and the colors really jump out.  Though this film was originally released theatrically in 3D, but this release only includes a 2D presentation. I am very disappointed in this since I feel it would have added a lot to the film itself.  Note: This is the second time this year already that New Video Group released an intended 3D Blu-ray only in 2D, the other being “Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai”. The English dub audio track, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, works well with the format but I actually did prefer the original French language but its track is only presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.

The special features are like the film a bit of a let down and are both in standard defition.  There is “An Interview with Filmmaker Michel Ocelot” talks about his process of creating this film. It is in French with English subtitles. “The Festival of Color: Storytelling Through Animation Featurette with Filmmaker Michel Ocelot” is an extra focuses on the work with a UNICEF event again chatting about the production.  Also again in  French with English subtitles. Lastly there is a U.S. Trailer included.

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