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Film / Strings (2004)

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Strings is a 2004 marionette movie co-produced by Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

Hal Tara is the prince of the city-state of Hebalon, which has been at war with the Zeriths since he can remember. After his father is apparently murdered by a Zerith assassin, he goes on a journey to avenge him, leaving his uncle in charge. In his journey, he comes to discover that there’s a lot more to Hebalon and the Zeriths than what he thought he knew.

It’s unique for a puppet movie in that the mechanisms for handling puppets are acknowledged and incorporated into the movie’s universe; the strings are a source of life (especially the head string) and the characters consider that whoever is manipulating them from beyond the clouds is god, among other things.


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Tropes:

  • The Bard on Board: The story is about a prince whose father, the king, is assassinated by his uncle, and the prince seeking revenge. The Hamlet influence is obvious (and admitted by the creators).
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Zeriths and Hebalon are at peace, but it doesn’t change the fact that sweet Jhinna died undeservedly.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Jhinna breathes her last while being held by her brother Hal.
  • Evil Uncle: Hal's uncle Nezo hides the truth about the death of Hal’s father from him (namely, how he bequeaths the throne to Hal) in a bid to seize power. And he has no qualms about killing his own niece.
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: Hal Tara and his father are gold puppets, symbolizing their status as sovereigns of Hebalon. He dyes himself brown when he has to go undercover.
  • Heel Realization: Hal Tara’s father was a murderous tyrant towards the Zeriths in life. He didn’t even spare defenseless women or children. At some point he realized how wrong he was, which led to his suicide at the start of the movie, as he believes his son Hal is capable of bringing peace.
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  • Internal Reveal: The movie begins by showing Hal’s father commiting suicide, which is witnessed and taken advantage of by Nezo, who claims he was assassinated by the Zeriths. Hal Tara only learns the truth around the last third of the story.
  • Man on Fire: Ghrak dies when his strings are set on fire during the big battle.
  • Maternity Crisis: Eike gives birth to her third child after being thrown in prison with Jhinna by Nezo.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Jhinna is an extremely kind and gentle girl, probably the most good-natured person in the cast, and ends up getting killed for refusing to marry Ghrak, the insane commander-in-chief of the Hebalonian army.
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