The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (2022)


The affirmative platitudes that anchor this are inescapable, and since they are relatively true, you may as well embrace them. My tween boys did, and I’m glad for it.

But why I am recommending this is the art and animation. I have to admit that I do not know the legacy. For all I know, they copied the style of the source book, and also have other animations in this tradition. But just going on this one encounter, I found the visuals so striking it would have worked with no dialog.

I don’t know if we are entering a new era in two-d animation, but the possibility is tantalising.

If you can’t see this, let me describe it. Backgrounds consist of deep snowy landscapes and detailed foregrounds of trees. These are dreamy and more than once referenced as cake icing. We have slow pans and gentle transitions that are unhurried. Foreground characters are drawn in a radically different style than the pastel back.

These are loose ink drawings with careful watercolour infill. As the characters move, the outlines inside and outside their forms stay the same, as if there were reality in the three dimensional world that is pulling along the imprecise boundaries we also see.

The contrast between the inner life of colour and the outer ‘definition’ is so strong a metaphor that even without the dear staging, we’d get the point.


Posted in 2023

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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