(Click here for the audio version of this review)
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
That kind of seems like a nice quote at first glance but it made me immediately think about how no pre-teen kid is wise enough to say they want to be ‘kind’ when they grow up. Unless their parents trained them to say deeply philosophical things like that. It is one of the very many quotable lines from the 2022 short movie ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse’ by Peter Baynton and Charlie Mackesy. The latter is also the author of the illustrated book by the same name.
I’ve read the book and didn’t realize how much the artwork is akin to ‘Winnie the Pooh’ until I saw the movie. That said, the animation is quite stunning, especially since the story unfolds in a snowy white forest, brining to viewers a soulful natural winter wonderland where a little boy talks to animals like he is a spiritual guru.
Just like the book, the movie too doesn’t have a coherent plot – a little boy is lost in the forest, meets a mole who is obsessed with cake and the two set out to find him a home. The two meet a fox and a horse along the way and all of them swap wisdom along the way. They say stuff we’ve read/heard a million times over.
Exhibit 1 –
“What’s the bravest thing you’ve done?”
“Asked for help”
Exhibit 2 –
“Doing nothing with friends is never doing nothing is it?”
(“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want” – Calvin and Hobbes – a quote that’s been my Facebook banner for almost ten years now)
Soon, despite being only about 30 minutes long, the movie gets boring. The artwork is wondrous, and the voice actors have pitch-perfect radio voices that make the dialogues soothing to the ears. While I can see how some people would love to see it, it’s too serious to be a kid’s film and too mundane for adults who read. An actual plot could’ve made this an instant classic.
It’s a 6/10 from me. Stream it on Apple TV.
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