Mix Monsters, Inc. with a Miyazaki film and youve got Nocturna, a new animated feature from Spain. Translated into English with top-notch voice acting, Nocturna is superior animated entertainment for all ages.
Tim, a chubby faced child living in an orphanage, is afraid of the dark. His only solace during the long dormitory nights is the star his deceased mother pointed out to him before her passing. When that star disappears from the sky one night Tim becomes concerned, setting out on an adventure and enlisting the help of the creatures of Nocturna the workers that make the night come alive. With the aid of his guardian cat Tobermory and the gargantuan creature known as the Cat Shepherd, Tim must put a stop to the star thief before the world is left in total darkness.
Adults who enjoy animated features will find much to like with Nocturna, though the deliberate pacing and lack of musical interludes may not be as well received by a younger audience used to American animated fare. Nocturnas simple, straightforward storytelling has a classic Alice In Wonderland feel, not relying on pop culture in-jokes, musical segments or flashy visual tricks to keep the audiences attention.
The films 2D animation is reminiscent of the work of Japanese animation auteur Hayao Miyazaki, though it doesnt quite measure up the intricate landscapes created by Miyazakis Studio Ghibili. The dreamlike world of Nocturna is sure to capture the imagination of older children and adults but the pre-school set may not have the attention span to fully appreciate Nocturnas subtle charms.
If you are a fan of smart, animated films, Nocturna is well worth keeping on your radar. (Filmax)