I have a secret adoration for French animated films. Actually, maybe not so secret: after the two month period where I spammed A Monster in Paris on my blog, I’m pretty sure that bias was clear. But whereas I love A Monster in Paris for its cute story and catchy musical numbers, Jack et la Mechanique Du Coeur—directly translated as Jack and the Mechanism of the Heart, but the tentative English title seems to be The Boy With The Cuckoo-Clock Heart according to IMBD—hits all the right notes for me aesthetically.
Done in a darker gothic-like palette (I’d compare it to Tim Burton, but I don’t particularly like him), the movie follows Jack, who, as you can probably guess, is in possession of a cuckoo-clock heart. There are apparently three rules he must follow:
- Never touch the clock hands
- His temper must be controlled at all times
- He must never fall in love
Doing any of these will compromise the mechanism along with his life. It’s safe to guess that he probably fails at one of these, or perhaps even all of them. From the trailer, it’s clear that Jack already has a love interest, so there’s no way that number three is going to remain untouched.
Outside of the general style of this film, I love the story itself or at least what I can see of it. Rather than exploring the capability of mechanized creatures like robots to be human, we’ll be able to explore a humanity that is much closer being roboticized. That is to say, life without feeling. Scenarios where it should be impossible to not have emotions, but where the character must remain stoic for whatever reason have always intrigued me, especially if these actions lead to their own downfall.
I also find the female character interesting right off the bat. Where Jack has a cuckoo-clock heart, the female lead seems to have a brambled rose instead. It makes me wonder if this girl has to follow a similar set of rules, or even an opposite set of rules. If she had the need, the requirement to pursue her feelings for someone that cannot express their own feelings I think it would make for a very interesting story, and it also might explain why the shy girl’s heart has been overrun with thorns later on in the trailer.
What I’m not looking forward to, however, is the soundtrack to this film. If it’s anything like that song in the trailer, we’re going to have a bad time. Due to its upbeat-ness and complete lack of atmosphere, it sends a conflicted message on what the film is about. Despite the somberness of the plot and colors, the music makes the film come off as a comedy almost. Not cool. Also, I really hope that the story doesn’t devolve to Jack sacrificing his own heart/life to rescue the girl from her own heart problems. I can’t say this is what will happen for sure—I certainly haven’t read the book it’s based on—but I also can’t say that I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened. Best case scenario, they both learn how to overcome that which restricts them, but don’t get magically cured. Maybe that’s asking too much.
The film is set for release in France on February 5th in 2014, so waiting to see if it meets or falls to my expectations will be a long process. However, I’m excited to see how the story is handled and will continue hoping that it will get an American release much like A Monster in Paris.