Michael Scott

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The Girl Without Hands

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Movie: :4.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :2stars:
Final Score: :4stars:



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Movie

The stories from the brother’s Grimm has always been dark and foreboding if you really look at it. Even though Disney hash softened and rounded the edges over the years, the tales of The Little Mermaid, Snow White and Rumplestiltskin are tales of brutality, torture, and life lessons that were used to scare entire generations of children into obedience back in the days. What most people consider the Brothers Grimm is NOTHING like what the original tales were like. I grew up reading the ACTUAL stories instead of the air brushed versions, and remember being terrified out of my gourd just READING them. Sebastian Laudenbach’s directorial debut takes a different look at the general principal behind the stories of the Brother’s Grimm, and makes up an entire story that fits so neatly, and so cleanly, into the genre while being totally unique.

The premise is very simple, and oh so familiar to many a dark fairy tale. A miller is offered up riches beyond compare, but by the hand of the Devil, and at the expense of his daughter. You see, the Devil wants the Miller’s daughter who is playing behind the mill, but will come back at a time when the girl has come of age. Actually watching the Devil coming back time and time again to check on his prize is disturbing in its own right, but once he actually comes it’s a completely different story. The years are kind to the Miller and his wife, and we see how the deal has benefited the man as money and riches flow through his pockets. It’s not until it’s actually TIME to pay up on his end of the bargain that the Miller actually realizes what he’s truly done though.

However, when the Devil actually claims his prize he finds out the daughter’s hands are TOO pure. A problem he had meant to overcome, but in reality he can’t. In one of the most brutal scenes of the movie he forces the Miller to chop off his daughter’s hands (who meekly gives them up as she is willing to do whatever her father asks), but even then, she is can’t be taken by the Devil as her tears wash over the stumps and cleanse them as much as her hands used to be. Effectively making her useless to the Devil.
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The story molds and adapts on its own, using some of the classic cliches of the girl leaving and getting involved with a prince, finally coming into her own as a vessel of self reliance and independence, before finish off with a bittersweet ending that really must be seen to be believed. I truly wish that The Girl Without Hands had gotten a theatrical release, as it really would have been something to see. As it is, the film is absolutely jaw dropping and a treat to see. The story is really a conglomeration of many of the basic principles of the Brother’s Grimm, and molds them into a story that is totally unique, and made even more unique by the luscious hand painted animation.

Even though it’s only 76 minutes, The Girl Without Hands is a captivating story that really sucks you into the fantasy story line. It involves elements of classic Grimm storytelling, with modern takes on feminine roles, and wraps it up with a little bit of horror to create a bitter sweet story that really is intoxicating to watch. I don’t usually get so engrossed in a short film like this, the movie is truly amazing, and one of the best independent animated films that I have seen in the last several years (The Red Turtle was the last film that hit me this deeply).




Rating:

Not Rated by the MPAA




Video: :4.5stars:
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Watching the trailer will give you an idea of the video stylings, as the film uses a very unique set of hand drawn animation stills to create an incredible looking 1080p movie. The hand drawings won’t leave you with INCREDIBLE amounts of detail, but everything on screen is exactly what the animators wanted, with clean lines and no signs of digital artifacting that I could see. Large swashes of bright orange and red dominate the screen, with hints of blue and amber blending in as well. Banding and crush are almost non existant, and the entire film is exquisite on Blu-ray (although never WILDLY detailed due to the animation style used).







Audio: :4stars:
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The French 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is simple and sweet, with a very forward heavy mix that is mainly used to replicate the dialog of the film. There are plenty of moments where the surrounds are used throughout the film (such as the horses hooves falling, or the rushing of water), but they are used very discreetly and never in a way that would really draw attention to themselves. LFE is tight and clean, but like the surrounds, used in a very mild way that leaves most of the heavy lifting up to the dialog in the film, as well as some nice panning in the front sound stage with the limited action oriented bits. It’s a nice track, and even though it is never geared towards a wild and woolly experience, it is mixed evenly and nuanced enough to be very pleasing.








Extras: :2stars:
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The Making of The Girl Without Hands - Featurette
• Interview With Sébastien Laudenbach
• Short Films by Sébastien Laudenbach
• Theatrical Trailer







Final Score: :4stars:


The Girl Without Hands is one of the most unique and wonderfully refreshing films in the last several years. Laudenbach’s passion and creativity are palpable in the short animated film, and it stands out as one of the most UNIQUE works in the animated world. With most studios so intent on creating CGI animated blockbusters, The Girl Without Hands is intimated and heartfelt, filled with dark scenes of warning and terror, while infusing them with a softer side that teaches love and compassion at the same time. Very simply put, it takes us back to the original intent of the Grimm fairy tales, complete with a good message up against a terrifying backdrop. The Blu-ray itself is well done, with great video and solid audio (extras are a bit weak, but nothing too wild) and makes for one of the better watching experiences of the last few years. Highly recommended.





Technical Specifications:

Starring: Anais Demoustier, Jeremie Elkaim, Philippe Laudenbach
Directed by: Sebastien Laudenbach
Written by: Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: French: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English
Studio: Shout Factory
Rated: NR
Runtime: 76 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: February 20th, 2018






Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 
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tripplej

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Thanks for the review. This one looks very interesting. Will try and catch this one.
 

Asere

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Thanks for the review! I too will try to watch this one.
 
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