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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.


  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: "Unexpectedly" by Misha Williams for the Japanese release.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The original trailer focuses on the dark and violent elements while the Japanese trailer focuses more on the romance and whimsiness.
  • Appendage Assimilation: The wealthy take replacements for their damaged limbs from slaves. As long as the titular strings are still connected to the limb, it functions normally. Nezo has had his whole body, except for his head and one arm, replaced.
  • 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.
  • G-Rated Sex: Babies are not born, they’re made of wood and have their strings fastened to them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Painting the Medium: Like crazy. The movie even opens with puppeteers getting in position, and characters interact with their strings to do things like climb, tangle and leap. Also, people are restrained only by bars.
  • Starts with a Suicide: The movie opens with Hal's father committing suicide. He believes Hal can bring peace, so he wants to pass the throne on to him.
  • 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.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer and Japanese posters give away that Jhinna dies.