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Extraordinary Tales (2015) - Blu-ray Review

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Extraordinary Tales - Blu-ray Review

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4 stars

Rejoice, Poe fans! With the release of Extraordinary Tales on blu-ray this week, we finally have something we can rave(n) about. This new anthology of animated horror offers a lot for fans to appreciate. With narrations provided by Sir Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Julian Sands, and Mexican horror maestro Guillermo del Toro, the film is spine-tingling master of many moods that definitely does not disappoint in its handling of some of Poe's best works.

Edgar Allan Poe remains a tragic and largely misunderstood author of gothic tales. He was not a drunk but he was a damaged person, who took to pen and paper to process his grief over the loss of so many important women in his life. These influential women are best represented in some of his classic works but within the expressive tomb of Extraordinary Tales we only get a brief snippet of their impact through the story of a raven talking with the spirit of death which connects all four of these stories.

Weaving "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Fall of the House of Usher," "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" and "The Masque of the Red Death" into a flowing experience of the macabre that ghoulish fiends of animation will surely devour, Spanish writer-director Raúl García's film unlocks the absolute beauty in Poe's work. There's much to appreciate, including Roger Corman's turn as Prince Prospero and Lugosi's recording of "Tell-Tale".

The animation is visually striking and ranges from comic bookish to a sort of water color appearance that can be both expressive and surprisingly flat at turns. Nonetheless, the film is a bold one and suggests that there were some very obvious choices in direction made when it came to how each story would be portrayed on film. The striking black-and-white, when paired with Lugosi's reading of "Tell-Tale" works best. The water color effect on "Rue Morgue" is probably the greatest even if the version of the story (which has no narration) is the weakest.

It is this mix that keeps the movie flowing, even if there is unevenness to it. Garcia's adaptations are not nearly as strong as Poe's original words and, while there is an effort to keep much of those words, the film runs a quick 71-minutes so cuts have been made; cuts that speed up the flow of each story. Tension winds up on the cutting floor but maybe – since we already know these stories – that's forgivable. Plus, the intricate animation makes up for a lot of lost qualities in the adapting process.

It might not be October, but Extraordinary Tales certainly gets you in the mood with an animated celebration of Poe's most unforgettable tales.

Extraordinary Tales - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime:
73 mins
Director
: Raul Garcia
Writer:
Raul Garcia
Cast:
Roger Corman, Guillermo del Toro, Cornelia Funke
Genre
: Animated | Mystery
Tagline:
Extraordinary Tales
Memorable Movie Quote: "Sometimes I think the only thing that kept me from you was my beating heart."
Distributor:
Gkids
Official Site:
Release Date:
October 23, 2015
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 2, 2016
Synopsis: An animated anthology of 5 stories adapted from Edgar Allan Poe.

Extraordinary Tales - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - February 2, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: A

Released on blu-ray courtesy of Cinedigm and G Kids with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1, this is one hell of a fine looking transfer. With enough clarity to please even the keenest of eyes, there simply is no weak entry in this compendium of terror. The 1080p transfer is pristine. Vivid colors abound and new depths are plundered and textures unearthed. Colors soak the screen with amazing clarity and lines are carved in such a manner that there is absolutely no bleeding. The sound – revealed here in a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 – never gives up with its immersive experience. Dialogue is clean, crisp, and the soundtrack soars with a strong quality.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Director Raul Garcia goes informative and covers the technical aspects of making the movie.

Special Features:

While there are only a minimum of offerings, the three featurettes are interesting enough, detailing an extended look at the making of the movie from the point of view of the director and others. There is also a snippet on the art of the film.

  • The Art of Extraordinary Tales (6 min)
  • The Making of Extraordinary Tales (41 min)
  • U.S. Trailer

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