Where I Watched it: iTunes
English Audio Description Provided By: Deluxe
Narrated by: laura Post
Before you read a review of me gushing over this film, you need to know that i did not understand this Marcel The Shell stuff before. Then, when it got a feature film, I rolled my eyes. I thought it was the equivalent of giving Grumpy Cat his own film. I am pleasantly wrong.
What Jenny Slate created with Marcel is almost the purest form of a being, someone who seeks rather simple means of happiness, and for a shell, is about as relatable a character could be. You sympathize with Marcel, you find Marcel endearing, and you root for Marcel to have whatever makes him happy. He’s just a shell with googly eyes and shoes, but dammit, marcel is a compelling lead.
While kids will likely enjoy this, it reminds me a lot of Babe. A movie that could easily be written off as a talking animal film for kids, but when people really gave it a shot, found so much more beneath that surface. marcel has all the qualities of Babe, and perhaps in a different year, or if A24 didn’t have a billion films they are campaigning this year, marcel might actually even break out of the Animated Feature race. Unfortunately, this one didn’t have the same landing Babe did, and audiences didn’t fall for Marcel like they did Babe.
But as Marcel starts to explain his missing family, and how he’s love to be reunited with them, and as he forms this bond with a human using Marcel’s house as an Air B&B, Marcel becomes no longer a shell, but very human. Especially at the holidays, where we aren’t always with the ones we love, marcel’s story is about as relatable as you can get. The feeling of loneliness, but also a determination to stave off the desire to just sit and give up, that’s the power of marcel. He might be one of the most inspirational characters in film this year, and he’s a shell. And I realize how absurd that sounds. That’s how good this actually is.
The audio description here is obviously paramount, since it’s a stop motion film, as Marcel obviously is not real. So, we have to have Marcel’s movement described to us. Either he’s trying to move something into a specific position, or he’s proudly showing off his wares, Marcel cannot be watched without audio description. I think you would miss the effect, and you would just think it was a human talking. And all the cute things Marcel does would be lost. Laura post does a really good job, as does the team at Deluxe with this audio description.
This is one of the best films of the year. I’m not ashamed to say that. And I’m shocked it is. I expected nothing, and was given everything.
Final Grade: A