Thursday, November 11, 2010

INTERNET SENSATION: Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

When I hear about something like Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (what a fantastic title), as I just have today, I feel both behind and in front of the times. Behind because this has become an "internet sensation" with nearly 1.5 million hits on You Tube. In front of, because I think it deserves many more hits, and it doesn't even have an entry on IMDB. It's directed and co-written by Dean Fleischer-Camp, and co-written and voiced by whom I suspect is an autuer of equal import, the recently ousted (and unbelievably cute) new/old Saturday Night Live appointee Jenny Slate (she quite understandably let a "fuckin'" slip out in a "frickin'" routine, but that didn't stop her from cruelly being cut from the cast--get a grip, NBC and FCC).

This uncommonly simple, utterly unique little (VERY little) movie is, I'm sure, the beginning of something larger. It charmed so many at the recent American Film Institute Festival that it won the Audience Award for Best Animated Short, instantly putting in qualification for the Best Animated Short Film award at the upcoming Oscars. I'd love to see it nominated. Sometimes, animation is not about the pyrotechnics involved in the movie's making, but about the feeling the results evoke (the editing and sound is magnificent, if you pay attention). This film conjures a powerful adoration for its feisty, diminutive subject, voiced without enhancement by Jenny Slate (who I imagine, at least, has this character in her mind for some time; either that, or it was thought of instantaneously, I imagine, in a very happy moment for Slate). The direction is superb (I really like Marcel's relationship with the interviewer), and the laughs are absolutely well earned; in fact, no feature this year has more joyful moments than you'll experience in Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. I want to see much more of Marcel, and so many others out there obviously want to as well. Wallace and Grommit won three Oscars for just the same reason. Mark my words: this isn't the last of this brave, lovely bit-player. By the way: I defy you to watch it only once.


Jane said...

Surreal, haunting, riveting. YouTube is 80% cute animals, 5% porn, 5% guys trying to blow themselves up and 10% weird creative stuff like this. Thanks Dean!

Lisa said...

It's amazing that something can be existing and getting huge hits and I hadn't heard ANYTHING about it until your post here -- not that I am so tuned in, but you'd think that I'd have run into it someplace. Thank you for bringing it to The Flaming Nose, Dean!

I loved it! It's adorable, it almost fits into the "cute animal" territory! What a charming little piece and though I usually can take or leave animation, this one is wonderful!

Always great to have a Dean recommendation here! More, more!

Dean Treadway said...

I'd subtract 10% from the cute animals (and babies), and add 10% film clips and music videos. But, yeah, you're right. Glad you liked Marcel!