If you guys read my response to the Oscar nominations you may recall my disappointment at The Peanuts Movie being snubbed for Best Animated Feature Film. In it’s place was a film called Boy and the World or o Menino eo Mundo in Portuguese. I had heard of this film but it had mostly fallen under my radar so the nomination was a big surprise. Today I had the chance to see the film and I can see why it got nominated. I don’t know if I would pick it over Peanuts Movie but a lot of that comes down to personal artistic taste.
Boy and the World is directed by Brazilian animator Ale Abreu and was released in that country back in 2013. It is made using mostly sketch animation with some live action imagery and paper mache thrown in. The film’s biggest strength is it’s wild imaginative artistry. It’s a real joy to watch.
It’s a simple story about a boy who is devastated when his father leaves the family to go and find work in the city.
They plant a tree on his departure but the boy is still very upset.
He goes on a journey to find his father and bring him back to the family but in so doing he dives into the city and confronts all kinds of people, industry, conflict and more.
At one point he ends up living at a trash dump.
As you can see the animation is quite beautiful but what adds to the appeal of the film is the wonderful music. Written by Ruben Feffer and Gustavo Kurlat it combines ‘pan-flute, samba and Brazilian hip hop’ into a delightful absorbing experience that made me smile. Here’s one of the main themes:
The visuals combined with the music at times feel like a kaleidoscope and I never grew weary of the imagery. It is a bit self indulgent and has little to do with the main plot of the boy looking for his Dad, but I liked it. However, I can picture that bothering some people but not me.
The ending of Boy and the World does try to say something about war, commerce, industry and waste but that wasn’t as effective as the rest of the visuals. It felt a little heavy handed where the rest of the film had spread the same message using joy and light. We didn’t really need the contrasting images.
There is little to no dialogue in Boy and the World so there are no cultural limitations or barriers. I know films with no dialogue aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoy them when done right and this is.
So is it better than The Peanuts Movie? Again, it just depends on what you like. They both have simple stories at their centers with depressed little boys and great music. Both are also visually innovative and beautiful. If you like more earthy, surreal art you’ll like Boy and the World better. If you like the more modern realistic pop art than you will like Peanuts Movie better. I personally have an attachment to Charlie Brown so I enjoyed his story more but I also loved the newness and creativity of Boy and the World.
Either way I can see why the academy nominated it. It’s a beautiful film and adds a strong artistic entry to 2015 that we really didn’t have outside of The Prophet. If you get a chance to see it let me know what you think.
My youtube review
11 thoughts on “Boy and the World Review”
I don’t think I’ll like it.
Probably not but I’d give it a shot
Very interesting. Glad you reviewed it because it was one of the nominations I knew absolutely nothing about.
It was definitely an obscure one for the academy to pick. That’s for sure
I am glad it got nominated because otherwise, it would have flown under my radar.
Generally speaking, of we forget the year in which freaking Brave won, the Academy usually has a pretty good track record when it comes to nominations and winners. I really don’t mind them nominating the lesser known movies over the more popular ones – after all, we all know that neither of those two movies have a real shot at winning.
Also, I always take creativity over “feel good” movies, no matter how good they make me feel.
Good points although I do think Peanuts Movie was creative in its own way with its unique animation style. I’m glad too that smaller films are recognized as you say.
Yeah, but it was more an already existing style put in CGI. (I also have the feeling that the academy deliberately nominates as few CGI movies as possible)
I agree. They do seem to favor the non-CGI. I guess I found the way they used a hybrid animation style in Peanuts was new and different we’d only really seen in shorts. Like I said in the review it comes down to artistic preference and the style of movie you like. But I agree with you that it is nice when these smaller films are recognized. It certainly gets me to watch them when I wouldn’t otherwise. It reminds me of Cat in Paris getting the nomination. I wouldnt have seen that without the academy recognizing it.
Yeah…I wouldn’t have minded Peanuts getting a nomination spot, but I think the movies which did honestly deserved one just as much and some of them could use the extra-exposure. It’s not like the left out Peanuts in favour for something like the Minions.