Embark on a Cellular Quest for Life!

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MOVIE REVIEW
Spermageddon

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Genre: Animation, Musical
Year Released: 2024
Runtime: 1h 16m
Director(s): Rasmus A. Sivertsen, Tommy Wirkola
Writer(s): Geir Vegar Hoel, Jesper Sundnes, Tommy Wirkola
Language: Norwegian with English subtitles
Where To Watch: shown at the 2024 Annecy International Animation Film Festival


RAVING REVIEW: SPERMAGEDDON arrives with a splash in a true “coming” of age story, offering a refreshing and audacious twist on animation that caters to a grown-up audience. Directors Tommy Wirkola and Rasmus A. Sivertzen navigate this quirky Norwegian comedy through the less charted waters of life's very beginnings, setting the stage inside the unexplored microcosm of a teenager's body, all to a score that hits every note from humorous to heartwarming. The entire time I watched the film, I couldn’t help but imagine the ridiculous outrage that a certain demographic in the US would have with a movie like this. Their lack of security within themselves would have made this film out to be this horrid monster instead of the warmer tale of growing up that it was.


Venturing into the intimate and peculiar internal world of a young teen named Jonathan, SPERMAGEDDON introduces us to Simen and Cumilla—two endearing sperm cells on a mission to unite with a distant, almost mythical egg. Their adventure, set against the backdrop of Jonathan's scrotum (yep, you read that right,) melds scientific wonder with a whimsical narrative, making the biological both bizarre and enthralling. While the film is most definitely aimed at an adult audience, I can’t help but feel this would be a great educational film for young teens of a certain age.

As Simen and Cumilla make their way through this animated inner space, their story parallels that of Jonathan and Lisa in the outside world. The teenagers’ fumbling yet genuine discovery of romantic feelings offers a heartfelt contrast to the frantic cellular race happening within, grounding the fantastical elements with real-world adolescent awkwardness.

From a visual standpoint, SPERMAGEDDON is a delight; it employs a vibrant color palette and a playful and fun CGI style. The stark contrast between the vivid, almost psychedelic inner world and the comparatively mundane external settings helps to enhance the narrative through stark visual dichotomies. There is no holding back in the constant use of puns and visual gags, all of which add a level of welcome levity while tackling some heavier themes in the film.

The soundtrack of SPERMAGEDDON stands out with a unique score; the random insertion of musical numbers in the film is a welcome shock to the system every time! These musical elements do more than accompany the visuals; they enrich the plot and deepen the viewer's emotional connection to the story, driving the narrative forward with melodic precision.

Aimed at adults, the film infuses its humor with a mature edge, drawing parallels with trailblazers like SOUTH PARK for its use of humor, although this is less coarse and more educational in the end. This sophisticated blend of comedy and drama invites the audience to ponder life's more significant questions while delivering a steady stream of laughs, ensuring the humor resonates with a more profound significance.

Conceived as a film that would challenge and provoke, Wirkola and Sivertsen have crafted SPERMAGEDDON to be more than just entertainment; it's a conversation starter, a boundary-pusher. Utilizing its charming animation style to explore weighty themes, the film encourages thoughtful engagement, making viewers laugh while making them think.

As SPERMAGEDDON concludes, it does so with a narrative crescendo that profoundly impacts its audience. It mirrors the profound journey of life from a single cell to complete existence. It's a film that entertains and enriches, marking a significant milestone in the evolution of adult-oriented animation. And make the audience think more than most animations ever do!

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[photo courtesy of 74 ENTERTAINMENT, QVISTEN ANIMATION, CHARADES]

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