Directed by: #AndrewErekson
Written by: Andrew Erekson
Animated Film Review by: Chris Olson
Marooned Movie Review
Part of the We Are One Global Film Festival, Marooned is a short animated film from DreamWorks, written and directed by Andrew Erekson. At just seven minutes, the piece feels like one of those Pixar shorts they play before a feature, and yet Erekson manages to captivate and compel with his cantankerous robot plot.
Set on an abandoned lunar outpost, Marooned sees a grumpy robot attempt to make his way back to earth. All manner of obstacles and challenges present themselves, with our protagonist coming up short every time.
The piece uses no dialogue and a sumptuous score to immerse the viewer into the space storyline that has universal appeal through comedic timing and pointed moments of tenderness. It would be impossible to review this short movie without mentioning the 2008 hit WALL-E, simply because there is so much in common between Andrew Erekson’s movie and the opening section of the Pixar feature. What stops Marooned being quite so effective is the lack of characterisation. This isn’t a robot we particularly connect with, or even remember, whereas WALL-E was instantly likeable and endearing.
One of the strengths of Marooned is its playfulness when it comes to cinematic tropes. We get unnerved by the “troubled mission home” and we get tickled by the “calamitous repair job”. We feel the longing of the robot and his despair at the useless help he receives from another robot. All this coalesces very quickly during the short but does create an enjoyable atmosphere. Another aspect to the film which is incredible is the animation - so gloriously sharp and brilliantly delivered, this is remarkable aesthetic filmmaking that does credit to the genre.
With the ever-present thematic parallels that science-fiction films offer to audiences being no less apparent in Marooned, it’s exciting to see them play out in just seven minutes with a central character that doesn’t speak. His lack of dialogue makes him universal but also conveys his lack of being “home”. This is a character truly lost, without the ability to communicate that entirely effectively. His enduring spirit and frustration when he faces hardship make him seem wholly human, allowing the movie to ground the story for the present viewer who will, on at least some level, connect with him - even if it’s not quite as much as WALL-E.