Menino’s life is turned upside down when his father leaves home to work in the big city. He and his mother remain in their simple country home but he misses his father terribly and decides to go looking for him. He gets to the city to find vast industrialization and an ever-growing consumption of resources both natural and human. Through the eyes of a child, we see the impact of industrial automation and a world growing beyond its boundaries.
2013, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 20 mins
DTS-HD Master Audio (Portugese) 5.1, 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Vinicius Garcia, Marco Aurélio Campos, Lu Horta
Directed by Alê Abreu
Violence: Some intense images
Other than the story of a boy and his adventure, there is no concrete plot here. Rather, we see a collection of images that represent the world as seen by a child. It’s not always obvious what is real and what is imagined but it is all amazing to look at. The artwork is hand-drawn throughout and rife with bold color and beautiful clean lines. Sometimes we see bits of text super-imposed on different objects but the effect is always artistic.
I picked up on several possible inspirations for director Alê Abreu’s vision. There seemed to be elements of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times and even Pixar’s Wall-E. All of these are statements about the possible future of our world and of humanity.
The message here is quite obvious. We live in an environment that is over-processed and over-industrialized. Our planet’s resources are finite and man’s capacity to live here will someday be tested. The symbolism of the giant city, the rise of automation and dehumanization of society is clearly portrayed. There is no dialog other than a few moments of gibberish that reminded me a bit of when adults speak in Peanuts films when we only hear a muted trombone. Words simply aren’t needed. The presentation is breathtaking though a little depressing. It’s no surprise that Boy & The World earned an 2016 Oscar nomination for Best Animated Film.
The image is reference quality in every respect. The animation is done with supreme cleanliness both of line and of color. There is no shading used but objects are clearly placed in the fore and backgrounds. Motion is super-smooth thanks to the wise choice of a 24fps film presentation.
The best part of this film is the masterful sound design. One could almost shut their display off and simply listen to a lush array of Foley effects which are portrayed in a tremendous surround envelope. The mix is only 5.1 channels but I’ve heard Dolby Atmos demos that don’t achieve the sense of immersion in this release. Few titles will present a better demonstration for a home theater than this. Even the sub gets into the act on several occasions. Honestly the audio is so good here I should probably go back and reduce every other movie I’ve ever reviewed by one star.
Bonus features include a making-of featurette about the making of the film (in Portugese with subtitles), a music video and a theatrical trailer.