The Blue Bird (1918)

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Blue Bird Review

The Blue Bird is a 1918 silent fantasy children’s movie directed by Maurice Tourneur.  It is one of the earliest and undoubtedly best fantasy films.

It is about a young boy and girl who are asked to search for the blue bird of happiness only to realize that it was in their house all along. The story is excellent. It starts with a great premise and it ends wonderfully with those beautiful lines and a great message for children that truly is wonderful. But the journey is also so beautiful to behold and filled with great creatures and memorable imagery. It is riveting from start to finish and fueled with this evident energy, charm and unique authenticity.

Now, I have some problems with it. It is too weird at times and not just offbeat but so incredibly weird to the point of becoming sort of a drug-fueled experience. I am talking about the souls of things in the scene where the objects come to life. Now, some are understandable like the pets, but others are not. For example, bread. What is the point of bread having a soul and body? I honestly do not know. But the weirdest are definitely the pets who, when they come alive, embody the body of a human, but still retain animal-like qualities. And the scene where they lick the children is so weird and I even laughed how unbelievable it is.

But it is a great and imaginative story nonetheless, no matter how odd it can become at certain moments. I absolutely adore its scenery which is at times even artistic and so memorable. The colors used here are gorgeous and the cinematography is just splendid. It is filled with such a great imagination and wonders that it works as a beautiful fantasy work.

The characters are good as is the acting. Both kids are realistically depicted and they are also stupendously well acted which is always a pleasant surprise. And the others are all very well realized and also acted and I absolutely adore its plethora of diverse characters and creatures, making the whole journey all the more enjoyable.

Now, I have another problem with its storytelling and that is certainly its episodic nature. It is just too unevenly spread throughout with not only weak editing, but also too much resembling a TV show. The nature of the film is too episodic with particularly its second half just being split into many different sequences that do not mash particularly well together. The first and the last act are great, but the middle is very uneven and the film’s lowest point unfortunately.

But the directing from Maurice Tourneur is absolutely splendid and he gave the film a unique touch. The Blue Bird is a technically polished feature across the board. The cinematography is, as I said before, magnificent and the imagery is very evocative and beautifully unrealistic and always imaginative. It also greatly uses its colors and the score I also liked a lot. The film has such likable characters and an involving and well crafted script with the first act making you interested instantly and the ending being so incredibly satisfying with a great morale. I liked its tone as it is quite mature. It is for children, but it is also a movie that adults can quite enjoy due to its wondrous spirit. It is also incredibly original with a story that is unlike any I’ve ever seen in a movie. The make-up for the creatures is terrific and the effects are simply astonishing and just breathtaking given the context of time. It also has a solid dialogue and the intertitles are well spread throughout. It does have a lot of heart, a humor and a great sense of wonder.

The Blue Bird is such a memorable and unique experience with a story not like any other, a wonderful sense of wonder, terrific effects, awesome imagery, quite likable characters and a riveting story with a great message as well. It is too weird at times and is too episodic in nature, but it is an early fantasy movie that works on many levels and is just a joy to watch, highly authentic and charming.

My Rating – 4

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Posted in 1910s, 1918, Children's, Fantasy, MOVIE REVIEWS, Silent and tagged , , , , , .

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