In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances.
An adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world--a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler.
The blood-soaked tale of a Norse warrior's battle against the great and murderous troll, Grendel. Out of allegiance to the King Hrothgar, the much respected Lord of the Danes, Beowulf leads... See full summary »
Hal Tara is the son of The Kahro of the city of Hebalon and heir to the throne. When The Kahro kills himself, Hal is chosen to taken his place to rule Hebalon. But the discovery of The Kahro's suicide letter, that his father's death was no suicide, and was conducted by rivals of the city known as The Zeriths, Hal disguising himself as a commoner leaves the city and sets out to find the Zeriths and avenge his father. But Nezo, The Kahro's evil advisor who discovered the Kahro's body sends a warrior known as Erito to join Hal and to kill him. Entering the Zerith's camp, unaware of his identity, Hal falls in love with Zita, a Zerith female warrior, unaware Nezo has evil schemes to take over ruler ship of the city and Erito's wife Eike and Hal's sister Jhinna have uncovered his evil plot. Written by
Strings was the first animated feature film, which James McAvoy was the voice of the lead character. Several years later in 2011, James McAvoy was cast as the voice of Gnomeo in Gnomeo and Juliet. See more »
I end where you begin. And where you end I begin.
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Strings, at it's simplest level, is a dark fairy tale of the Brother's Grimm variety. The film begins with a King writing his final message before he kills himself, asking his son to take up his crown and strive for peace between his people and the rebellious enemy of the nation. However the King's evil brother finds the note first, and wanting to get rid of the son, and also wipe out the rebel faction, he concocts a plot to achieve his goal, and claim the throne for himself. The son soon finds himself an outcast from his land, and learns some shocking truths, whilst also falling in love. Sort of Snow White meets Gormenghast, the tale itself is nothing new. What makes this film different is the style in which it is presented. The characters are all puppets.
Now, this isn't the first puppet film to have hit the screen. In the past there have been various attempts, most recently the spoof Team America. However, in all the films before the puppets were used to represent humans. Here, in Strings, the fact that they are marionettes is integral to the tale, and the strings that hold them are as important as the characters. Each of them are aware of these cords, and they play such a huge part in every scene, and in the grand design of the whole thing. The details such as the city gate being just a piece of stone which is lifted to a high level, preventing the strings from passing, thus stopping anyone entering or leaving. The prison which is a simple grid of beams at a height, leading to some poignant moments when an imprisoned family can see each other, but cannot touch. Fights are enacted where the intention is to sever someone's cords. A child's birth is a different affair, with the baby being carved first before the strings themselves can be attached. Truly imaginative, and quite a high concept, yet working so well.
The marionettes are not the detailed dolls that Team America gave us. The only facial movements here are the eyes which open and close. This could have presented a problem, but thanks to the marvelous animation of the wooden puppets, and some passionate voice casting, it doesn't. There is never any confusion as to who is speaking, and what is going on, as the film presents us with wonderfully conceived scene after scene. Some elements are beautiful and touching, such as an underwater rescue, or the aforementioned birth scene. Some are quite shocking, but without being upsetting. Burning string has never seemed so dark until now.
This is possibly one of the freshest, most creative films of recent years, and is another example of someone doing something new with a genre. Visually superb, and wonderfully played out, the only concern is where the market actually lies for this kind of film. As a kids story it is very mature and dark, and as a mature film, the puppetry is a little alienating to the masses. Instead this film lies somewhere between the two, and if you can cope with a delightful tale, with poignant moments, enacted by some of the best 'classic' puppetry you would ever see, then go and take a seat.
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