Co-writer/directors Adrià García and Víctor Maldonado along with fellow screenwriter Teresa Vilardell create this magical tale of the night, Nocturna, about a young orphan boy who is forced to confront his fear of the dark while having the adventure of a lifetime.
Tim is a lonely orphan who is tormented by the fellow children at the orphanage over his crippling fear of the dark whenever the shadows of the night fall. The one thing that saves him from his loneliness is is love of the stars, their bright light offers him solace from the unknown that lurks in the scary shadows. But on one particular night, when Tim notices his favorite star, Adhara, disappear from the sky along with other stars, he goes off into the nighttime world where he encounters a new, large friend, the Cat Shepherd. Together, in a strange nighttime world of eccentric creatures who all make the night work as it should, Tim and the Cat Shepherd investigate who or what is making the stars disappear. Little do they know that their investigation will mean that Tim will have to confront his own worst fears in order to save the night.
In the grand tradition of children’s fantasies like Peter Pan or Alice in Wonderland, Nocturna is a weird and wonderful world of unusual and unexpected creatures, “Luminouses” who hang out around lampposts and make them glow at night, a “conductor” who leads a symphony of creatures who create all the strange and eerie sounds that send chills up the spines of children at night, and Pee, who makes little kids wet their beds. The design of this world, Nocturna, is eye catching, awesome, to say the least. It is a world that adults and children alike would love to explore.
The real beauty of the story, however, lies in the moral that is so central to its plot. That is one of friendship and courage to face one’s fears. Tim who is crippled by a fear of the dark, by venturing out into the very world of darkness that scares him so much, learns all the hidden secrets that reveal to him that the nighttime and the darkness are nothing to be afraid of. In doing so, he not only makes a new friend in the Cat Shepherd, but also overcomes his phobia.
Nocturna is a gorgeous film and it looks good in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer to Blu-ray. It might have looked even better were it not squeezed onto a single-layer BD-25 disc, however, because there are some obvious issues with banding that can be seen straight through. Apart from that, we get a sharp and detailed image with rich colors free from any aliasing or video noise.
The sole audio track, an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) mix, is a brilliantly done reference quality showpiece. The balance of atmospherics and solid effects throughout the surround channels. There’s a wide dynamic range that goes from subtle to big, always with clear dialogue, full, extended lows, and clear, airy highs.
- The Making of Nocturna (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:09:02)
- The Art of Nocturna (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:05:53)
- Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:06)
- GKIDS Trailers
The Definitive Word
Nocturna is great fun for children young and old. A gorgeous animated film that rivals anything from Disney, Pixar, or Studio Ghibli. Families can enjoy this one together for years and feel safe that their children are gaining real value from the story. It’s also incredibly gorgeous to behold, a real artistic achievement.
Additional Screen Captures