A stunningly beautiful fable about the relationship between humans and nature.
Director Michael Dudok de Wit seemed to have some growing pains in translating his skill in short films to a feature film, as pacing is the film’s biggest issue, but even in the most languid and formless moments, the animation is always dazzling.
It’s pretty clear early on that the film is operating as a fable, a parable, a stylistic morality tale more than anything else, but it’s interesting how nuanced the message here really is. There’s no easy “be kind to nature (with a lower case n)” platitude here, instead there’s a more developed comment on human ambition and dissatisfaction, the connections between the natural world and human nature, and the ways romance and family can combat ennui. For what ostensibly looks like a children’s animated film, there’s some interesting stuff to muse on here. And even if there wasn’t, the film is so damned gorgeous that it would be well worth the experience anyway. I give it three and a half crabs, and a regular green turtle.