In the wilderness of the forests where giant bulldozers are tearing apart the woods, there is a monkey that accidentally finds a shaving machine and decides to use it. Spontaneously disguised as a human being, he moves out to the city and starts a career.
The wizards at 3dar, the animation and effects geniuses behind Uncanny Valley create a madcap story in which the tables are turned on the environment-destroying human race by a monkey armed with an electric razor. Directors Jorge Tereso and Fernando Maldonado swing for the fence with CG animation that utilises every colour palette available and a surreal voracity in the shot style that gives the film an energy that instantly hooks and never lets up.
The multi-coloured landscape and comic book artistry all contribute to the whimsical tone that helps us to invest in the mission of a disgruntled monkey who sets out on a mission of retribution against the humans who are destroying his natural habitat. Having discovered an electric razor, the monkey shaves himself and disguises himself as a human and heads for civilisation to realise his brilliant plan.
With a premise as outlandish as this one, it takes a precise eye to perfect the tone required for this kind of film. Tereso and Maldonado excel in this area as they create a protagonist who, channels both humour and grit. They even go so far as to keep the same disdainful expression on the monkey’s face, regardless of how high he rises in the human world (and he rises very high indeed!)
An interesting (and entertaining) aspect to the characters in this film is that the monkey is by far the most intelligent character in the story. Whether this is an attempt to present the monkey as super-intelligent or humanity as ridiculously stupid, the writers make no secret of the fact that our race has caused a lot of damage to our world and that perhaps we deserve the disaster coming our way. Even with a short running time and an insane plot to boot, Tereso and Maldonado still find the time to fit in character beats for the simian protagonist.
There is a wistful longing in the monkey’s eyes when he reaches the pinnacle of human success and finds no fulfilment in it. Excitement only returns to his face when he sees monkey bars in a playground from his limousine window, prompting a flashback that leads brilliantly into the film’s crazy but undeniably fulfilling final act.
There is undisputed technical prowess on display here, not just from the execution of the surreal comic style, but from the fluid and dynamic animation as well. A great musical score that shows us that the monkey never truly leaves the jungle gives the film a playful tone and pace that carries nicely through the short running time. With a dizzyingly psychedelic style, provided in no small part by the art direction of Marina Muñoz and design and animation skills of Julian Dorado, ‘Shave It’ proves to be four minutes of whimsical, over the top fun that only gets better the more you watch it.
Studio: 3dar | Year: 2012 | Genre: Animation/Fantasy | Duration: 5 mins | Suitability: General