Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Review)
October 5, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” is a mature, yet dark animated romance film that is deep, well-written and just well-conceived. You just don’t get to see these type of animated films being made. But “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” is highly recommended!
TITLE: Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
TELEFILM RELEASE: 2013
DURATION: 89 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, French and English DTS HD-MA 5.1 and 2.0, Closed Captions
COMPANY: Shout! Factory
RATED: PG (For Scary Images, Suggestive Material, Some Language and Smoking)
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Directed by Stephane Berla, Mathias Malzieu
Novel, Story, Screenplay and Written by Matthias Malzieu
Produced by Adrian Politowski, Ben Stassen, Caroline Van Iseghem, Gilles Waterkeyn
Executive Producer: Olivier courson, Eric Dillens
Line Producer: Vincent Philbert
Music by Ramin Djawadi
Casting by Gina Gallo, Mimi Maynard, Domonic Paris
Art Direction by Jeremy Degruson
Featuring the voices of:
Mathias Malzieu/Orlando Seale as Jack
Olivia Ruiz/Samantha Barks as Miss Acacia
Grand Corps Malade/Harry Sadeghi as Joe
Jean Rochefort/Stephane Cornicard as Melies
Rossy de Palma/Sophia Ellis as Luna
Babet/Jessie Buckley as Anna
Dani/Michaelle Fairley as Brigitte Helm
Janet Dibley as Young Mother
Howard Samuels as Jack the Ripper
Marie Vincent/Emily Loizeau/Barbara Scaff as Madeleine
JACK AND THE CUCKOO-CLOCK HEART is set in the late 19th century Edinburgh, where little Jack is born on a day so cold that his heart remains frozen. Madeleine the midwife saves his life by inserting a cuckoo clock in place of his defective heart. It will work, she warns him, as long as Jack observes three golden rules. First of all, he must never touch the hands of the clock. Secondly, he must control his anger. And last, but certainly not least, he must never, ever fall in love. The moment Jack sets eyes on a young girl singing on a street corner, the hands of his clock-heart begin to race. Desperate to find her again, Jack launches himself into a romantic quest that will lead him from the lochs of Scotland, to the city of Paris and all the way to Andalusia.
Adapted by Mathias Malzieu from his own bestselling novel and the gold-selling album by his band Dionysos, JACK AND THE CUCKOO-CLOCK HEART features a English-language voice cast of Orlando Seale (Pride and Prejudice), Samantha Barks (Les Misérables ), Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow), Stéphane Cornicard (Saving Private Ryan) and Richard Ridings (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Who Framed Roger Rabbit).
From directors Stephane Berla and Mathias Malzeiu (“Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life”, “The Secret of Yvette”) comes “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart”.
Originally based on the concept album by the French rock band Dionysos and lead singer, Mathias Malzieu’s illustrated novel “La Mecanique du coeur”, “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” will be released on Blu-ray +DVD+ Digital Copy courtesy of Shout! Factory.
“Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” is set in Edinburgh, Scotland back in 1874. The story begins with a young woman who struggles to walk during the coldest day ever before collapsing in front of the home occupied by a witch named Madeleine.
Because of the extreme cold, Jack’s heart stops beating but to save him, she replaces his heart with a cuckoo clock.
But for him to survive and not turn into a ice cube, he must follow three important rules: Never touch the hands of his heart, he must try to control his temper and the most important rule, he must not fall in love. If he does not follow the rules, the cuckoo heart will explode and will stop ticking.
While Madeleine manages to save Jack, his mother leaves him.
Fast forward a decade later and Jack is now an older boy and each morning, he must wind his cuckoo-clock heart with a key. As promised by Madeleine, Jack gets to go to the city.
But as the two go to the city, Jack begins to wander out and meets a girl named Acacia who begins singing. And the two start singing together and as Jack starts to fall for her, he nearly collapses as his cuckoo-clock heart began to overheat.
As Jack wants to start school (in hopes he can see Acacia again), Madeleine tries her best to prevent him from attending because she is afraid that the children may take advantage of him because of his heart. But because it is his birthday, she allows him to go to school.
But Jack quickly learns that the school is quite dark and everyone avoids him. And immediately, he is approached by the school bully Joe who rules the school with his iron fist. And warns Jack to stay away from Miss Acacia and tells him that he should not ever mention her name in front of him.
But when Joe finds out about Jack’s cuckoo-clock heart, Jack becomes the object of Joe’s repeated bullying each day. Often getting beaten up or having his cuckoo-clock heart messed around by the other kids.
But one day, as Jack finds a postcard of Acacia’s address, Joe threatens to kill Jack and tries to pull out his cuckoo-clock heart. But as the cuckoo comes out of the clock, it stabs Joe’s eye.
Immediately the police go to Madeleine’s home, while Madeleine tells him that he must flee Edinburgh and find a qualified clockmaker to repair his heart.
Jack hopes to look for Miss Acacia but will life be kind to him, now that he is out in the free world? And what about the repeated warnings he has had all his life…to never fall in love?
“Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). I have to say that “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” is one of the stylishly, unique animated films I have ever seen. The film definitely has a French style and characters that look great. The environments surroundings are detailed and look absolutely magnificent in HD. I didn’t notice any banding issues, nor any artifacts during my viewing.
While the film is not vibrant, the film is meant to have a dark atmosphere and colors are slightly subdued, until we get towards the latter part of the film. But the overall look to the film is quite stylish and “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” looks amazing in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart”is presented in French and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 stereo. First, I will say that the Dionysos soundtrack is fantastic! The music compliments the film remarkably well and the film’s dialogue is well-acted, is crystal clear and sounds fantastic. Music plays a huge part of this film and the musical soundtrack is wonderful!
With that being said, the English soundtrack is equally well-done and I was quite happy to see how things turned out for its voice acting but also maintaining that emotion that the French did so well with its original version.
“Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” comes with the following special features:
- Characters – A two minute featurette on each character of “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart”: Jack, Acacia, Joe, Melies, Arthur and the Aunts.
- From Book to Screen – (6:16) A featurette about bringing “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” to the big screen.
“Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” comes with both the Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy version of the film. Plus a slipcover is included.
I must admit that I didn’t know what to expect with “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart”. Was this supposed to be a children’s film? Was this supposed to be a “Corpse Bride” style of film from France?
But “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” was nothing what I expected and that is perfectly fine because I absolutely loved the film!
From when I saw the characters during the opening sequence, I was absolutely won over by it’s French style. I’m always interested in seeing how other countries are in terms of developing animated films and “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” was a film that featured detailed surroundings, environments and even the smallest things that you would never think about, there was a lot of work done in creating a natural setting that the characters would see or objects they would use and suffice to say, so much went into the creation of this animated film.
But what I loved about “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” is its story. It’s a mix of dark fantasy but also a romantic film with an ending that is so non-Disney or non-Hollywood and that’s what I appreciated about this film. Giving us something different and in many ways, surprising the viewer. And I would not be surprised, if many will shed tears by the end of the film.
It’s definitely not an animated film for children as the film is not cheerful nor is it meant to be happy.
As for the Blu-ray release, the film looks wonderful in HD! The lossless soundtrack is fantastic in both French and English and the soundtrack is magnificent! While there are a few special features included, especially getting to know the though process of each character.
Overall, “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” is a mature, yet dark animated romance film that is deep, well-written and just well-conceived.
You just don’t get to see these type of animated films being made. But “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” is highly recommended!
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