Details from IMDB:
Extraordinary Tales (2013)
An animated anthology of 5 stories adapted from Edgar Allan Poe.
We having been having a terrible winter here (We’ve had about 80 inches of snow since December 1st, thankfully it has been melting periodically!) and I’ve had to spent less time going to movies. Thankfully Netflix has been doing a great job the past year or so having content to interest me and this past weekend I found this animated collection of short-stories by Edgar Allan Poe.
After I listened to a collection of short stories by Poe I’ve become fascinated with him (you can read my review here). So when I saw this on Netflix I had to watch it. In terms of the animation, for all of the stories it is good, sometimes event excellent. There is this strange in-between each story part though where it looks terrible, so computer generated and pixel-like.
I thought the dialogue the Raven (who is of course Poe) has with death was interesting but as I said the animation is so pore that ultimately I found myself not caring and just waiting for the next story. For a change I’ll go one by one and say what I thought of each.
“The Fall of the House of Usher” this is one of my favorite Poe stories (and I think one of his best). Christopher Lee had a very distinctive voice and was a good choice for it. While the animation is excellent and some great voice work I felt that by skipping parts of the story it made the whole thing rushed. Still well done and the while the ending is quite what I expected, still well done.
“The Tell-Tale Heart” is next. I loved the animation here, it looks very much like a comic and I thought the choice of black and white was a cool choice. While I love Bela Lugosi (one of the first actors to play Dracula) and he has a great voice, the quality of the recording is very poor. I don’t blame Lugosi for this, he died in 1956 and obviously recording technology has come a long way. I’m also a purist and once again I can’t help but notice that parts of the story are cut, which I don’t like. The police at the end also look strange (they are all identical) and thought the body should have looked more gruesome than was shown (since it dismembered).
“The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” is one of the best one’s here. A less well-known Poe story is done with excellent old-fashioned comic-book style animation. Julian Sands does a great job with the voices and this the most faithful to the story. The shock (and sometimes gore) of a dying man forced to remain alive to hypnotism is made very creepy and I can find no flaws here, excellent.
“The Pit and the Pendulum” is a story I love and I really looked forward to watching. The choice of Guilermo del Toro is an interesting one, as he is not known for voice work (I only knew him as a director). None the less he has a pleasant Spanish voice and he did a good job here. This one has some really good hyper-reality/video game style animation, which I enjoyed. Again the story is cut (pun intended) and I felt some of the better parts where left out/changed. Still I enjoyed it and glad they ended it as the story did (this is a rare story for Poe as the main character lives and is saved!).
Finally “The Masque of the Red Death”, this one is not narrated at all. I didn’t mind this but the fact that almost all of the lines of dialogue are cut out bothered me. Animation is excellent and the ending is superb, also one of my faves which I’m glad was done well.
Any Poe fans needs to watch this. I can’t say I loved but it was certainly enjoyable. Due to the concerns mentioned about I give it 7 out of 10. Please don’t let small children watch this, due to the subject matter and some gore I would says 15+. I would give this a recommendation, especially if you’re stuck home in the snow like I was.