Saturday, February 18, 2017

Boy and the World


Rated PG for Thematic Material and Images

"Boy and the World" is a "Fantasia" short stretched out to nearly 90 minutes.  Although the art style is adventurous and it looks great, there's nowhere near enough material for a feature length film.  Even one as short as this.

The film is light on plot: a boy's father doesn't come home from work so he goes searching for him and undergoes a series of surreal adventures.  It's so light because writer/director Ale Abreu is using this as a jumping off point to illustrate the dangers of out-of-control capitalism, industry and the plight of workers.

I have no problem with a filmmaker using film to make political points or metaphors.  What I do have a problem with is the fact that the end result is so boring.  In addition to basically being a checklist of just about every left-leaning cause, the points are obvious, trite, and with no interesting characters or plot to guide us through it, it comes across less like a valid argument and more like an infomercial for Amnesty International.

That said, the film's visual style is worth praising.  Told almost entirely through images (there is dialogue, but not much and it's gibberish without subtitles), Abreu uses a variety of art techniques to make his film.  Abstract art is the medium here, with the only attempts at realism coming from magazine collages and, briefly, documentary footage.  Colored pencils, geometric shapes, buildings and vehicles in the shapes of animals, and many, many more are all included.  If nothing else, the film is almost worth seeing for that.

But the film is so boring and so preachy that I can't recommend it.  Far from it.  Instead of a surreal, trippy. animated adventure that uses symbolism and metaphor to get its point across, it's a self-indulgent, one-sided argument that will probably appeal only to the worst of the leftist stereotypes.


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