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Have for a while now gotten a lot of pleasure out of the animations from Soyuzmultfilm, the quintessential Russian animation studio. Have yet to see a misfire from them, have seen a vast majority of them just to say, and consider a lot of their work classic ('Hedgehog in the Fog', 'Tale of Tales', 'The Snow Queen', 'The Wild Swans', 'The Nutcracker', 'Thumbelina', 'Mowgli' being notable ones).
'Winter Tale' is not one of their classics, and is not among the best work of director Ivan Ivanov-Vano. Whose best work, the likes of 'The Humpbacked Horse' and 'The Snow Maiden', was wonderful. 'Winter Tale' was one of his earliest efforts and it's a good one, much better than the rating suggests, likely due to only a small number of votes from being seen too little but that is me being speculative and in no way intended to be ignorant.
The story is slight, taking perhaps a little too much time to set up, and the ground it treads is familiar. But actually very little stuck out to me as wrong.
One of 'Winter Tale's' best assets is the animation, loved the rich colours but it is the attention to the little visual details and the background landscapes that are bigger stars. The latter is especially notable. The music has whimsy, sumptuous orchestration, merriment and atmosphere, never feeling at odds to me with the action.
Although the storytelling is not one will consider perfect, it is still immensely charming and it was good that there was enough interest sustained. The lack of dialogue meant that there was a less of a danger of being corny or too cutesy and the atmosphere spoke more. The characters may be thin but are engaging and easy to like.
Summarising, very nicely done. 8/10
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