“Marcel the Shell” review

After years of being a Youtube sensation from the early 2010s, Marcel the Shell has finally hit the big screen with a feature-length film. Made by co-creators Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate (whom you may know from the TV show Parks and Rec),  produced by the film company A24. The film follows an adorable little shell with a googly eye, similar to the pet rocks I made as a child, who is searching for his family. Although the premise might not sound all that exciting, it’s possibly one of my favorite artsy-type films that have come out recently.

As the title says, Marcel is a shell that wears shoes. He rides around the house in a tennis ball and uses honey on his shoes to climb the walls. Marcel meets a new man named Dean who is now living in his house, which is also an Airbnb. Dean decides to start recording videos of Marcel for a documentary and posting them on Youtube, Marcel takes advantage of his newfound fame in hopes of finding his family, since they were torn apart long ago.

Although it’s not necessarily marketed toward kids, children will probably be drawn to Marcel’s cute design, but children aren’t the only ones who could enjoy it. The movie is adorable and hilarious, but it also handles themes like the loss of a loved one and the importance of community. Marcel is individualistic and very self-confident. He’s positive but not to the point of corniness, and you don’t want to see anything bad happen to him. It’s a simple, yet complex and effective film. though I guess a movie that’s been in the works for seven years should probably be good.

Over the course of making the movie, the creators divorced but continued to work together to finish their passion project. This loss of love theme is represented throughout the film, adding to the sensitive topics that the film handles gracefully. There’s a lot of heart in the movie, and it’s all delivered in the small packaging of a shell with a googly eye and shoes. The documentary style this film follows makes it more vulnerable and real. I also think the stop motion animation choice was a wise choice, although I’m a bit biased because I adore stopping motion animation. But the choice to make Marcel non-human and childlike adds to our sympathy for him. We may feel more for non-human things than other people, for example, when dogs die in movies we tend to react more than when people die in movies. The reason we feel more for the dog is that they have a sense of innocence to them, and in this case, we feel for a shell because of his kindheartedness and naivety about the world.

The movie itself takes a little bit to get to the point at times, but it makes up for it eventually. It takes time for you to get comfortable with the characters and the surroundings. It’s not a long movie either, reigning in at exactly 90 minutes. Although sometimes it may seem drawn out, overall the movie itself is evenly paced and is no longer than it has to be. By the time it was over I was begging for more.

All in all, this movie feels very real and heartwarming, without ever feeling like it’s corny or trying to sell you something. In a way, it reminds me a bit of “Paddington” mainly based on how wholesome it is. So as you can probably guess I highly recommend this movie and give it a big thumbs up. It’s amazing no matter what age you are and is a movie I think we’ll look back on as a masterpiece. I give it 5 out of 5 paws.

Marcello, let’s forget about being afraid. Just take the adventure.”