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Shadowland short animated film review

★★★★★ Directed by: Bellopropello Written by: Bellopropello Film Review by: Jason Knight

Poster for Shadowland showing animation.
Poster for Shadowland

Today people are quite attached to and dependent on their mobile phones. Initially these electronic devices were used to make and receive calls. Now they are capable of all sorts of stuff such as taking pictures, making videos, playing games, banking, browsing the internet and making purchases. It would be hard to imagine the world without them. With Shadowland, Bellopropello has brought to the world an outstanding piece of work. One that won numerous awards from many Film Festivals. Right from the beginning it is clear that this is something special. It appears to be a city centre at night-time, resembling Las Vegas. The camera moves forward through a sea of lighted signs, with darkened buildings in the background, while club music is played. Shadowland won the Best Animation of the Year Award at the New York Film Awards, and it is not hard to see why. If one could describe the animation here with one word, then that would be: magnificent. From start to finish the film is a pleasure to watch, admiring and being mesmerized by the wonderful work that has been put into this project. The colours look very appealing to the eye and so do the lighting effects. The animation is primarily digital, but there are also sequences that seem to be hand-drawn. There is not a single dull moment, however there are sequences that deserve special attention. One is the scene of a sinister-looking man in a dark room. He resembles a mad scientist and occasionally laughs throughout the film. He is sitting on a desk, holding what looks like a tablet, and in front of him are large screens. Through these screens he is observing a large number of black figures that look like people as they are walking around, looking at their phones. When he presses a touch-button on his tablet, he appears to be influencing their behaviour, controlling them in a way. This sequence might be pointing out how much people are 'under the control' by their own devices. The film also appears to be addressing the topic of how mobiles affect consumerism. In one rather chaotic scene, there is a large structure made out of money and parcels are coming down from it like a conveyor belt. Then drones appear and proceed to collect them, while people are in the background, also collecting parcels and interacting with their phones. This part seems to show the chaos that is created as customers constantly buy and buy. Along with the exceptional animation, viewers will be listening to a kind of soundtrack that will give them the impression that they are inside a nightclub. The music makes a terrific combination with what is seen on screen. There are no spoken words here and they are not needed either. The fantastic visuals and accompanying tracks are more than enough to provide the viewer with an unforgettable experience. Bellopropello's creativity and dedications have paid off. He brought to life a film worthy of a lot of praise and recognition. A superb achievement! Unfortunately, Shadowland does have one flaw: it ends!



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