A Boy and His Beast (Un Garcon et Sa bête) (2017) [Oceanside International Film Festival 2017]

A young aristocratic boy adopts a dog on his birthday.  As he teaches his dog tricks and learns to love his pet, something happens and he meets a surprise in the family’s yard.

Written by Crystal Perea and directed by Calley MacDonald, this short stop-motion animation film is adorably cute and funny.  The story shows a lot of heart and love in a family that is rather strict and not accepting of new things.  The boy at the center of it all is the black sheep of his family and is shown as a sweet, loving boy.  The way the story is built, the surprise near the end is not evident or easily guessed.  While there is indeed more to this story than first meets the eye, it all makes sense in a way.  This story is loving and filled with just the right amount of humor to make it a comedy but without going overboard silly.  The film has very little dialog, almost none really, and it shares its story and emotions through well done animation and through its music.

The stop-motion animation here is great.  The character design is interesting and the animation itself is done thoughtfully and with talent.  The animation is as good as that seen in much bigger budget film and done with an attention to detail that shows the filmmakers knew what they were doing.  The animation team working under supervisor Briana Ornelas does amazing work here and animates the characters, human and otherwise, in a way that brings them to life and with details like blinking, crying, small changes in smiles that add to the film’s emotions and how the audience connects with it.

Also adding to the emotions is the music by composer Alexander Burke.  It adds a touch of whimsy to a film already full of fun and emotions.  The film’s feelings are passed through this music a lot as the character speak very little.  This makes the film easily accessible to people who speak any language without the need for subtitles or translation per sey.  The bulk of the communication is non-verbal and the music supports this and adds to it in a beautiful, happy way.

A Boy and His Beast is a lovely, charming, and fun stop-motion animation film.  It shows a lot of talent from all involved.  It must be noted that in a field often dominated by men, this short was made by an almost all women team, except for the music department, a producer, and two consultants.  The creative team assembled here shows that female-led projects can be successful and charming without going the saccharine route.  This short is a fun, charming watch with lots of talent involved in making it.