In the modest but often visually striking "Extraordinary Tales," Spanish animator Raul Garcia uses imaginative designs, computer animation that suggests other media and an impressive array of voice actors to present five short films based on stories by
The segments are linked by a graveyard dialogue between Death (Cornelia Funke) and a raven representing Poe (Stephen Hughes). The interstitials and the handsome "The Fall of the House of Usher" (read by the late
In "The Tell-Tale Heart," set to an old recording by Bela Lugosi, Garcia limits himself to three colors: black, white and red, and bases the visuals on the work of Argentine graphic novelist Alberto Breccia. "The Facts in the Case of M. Valedemar," read by Julian Sands, uses a conventional comic book style. Both stories are more effective when the director moves the camera over still artwork; neither style moves particularly well in the limited animation. The least successful of the segments is "The Pit and Pendulum," read by
Like "A Cat in Paris" or "Sita Sings the Blues," "Extraordinary Tales" reminds viewers that animation can enable an artist to realize an individual vision, even on a limited budget.
MPAA rating: None.
Running Time: 1 hour, 13 minutes