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.