Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Beyond Beyond (2015) NYICFF 2016
The film opens with Johan and his family moving into a new home. Mom gets sick and then one night the Feather King takes her away. Dad is so freaked out he and Johan move to a ship floating around in the ocean, since the Feather King is destroyed by water. Johan won’t tell his dead but he wants the feared specter to come so he can talk him into returning his mother. When Dad goes to get supplies their friend radios asking for help getting away from the Feather King. Johan drives the ship to rescue him, he does, but in the process Johan manages to cross over despite not having a ticket to do so. This causes all sorts of trouble…
As a kids film without the over tones this is a good, if somewhat dark little confection that the kids around me largely loved. Its full of cute characters and rousing action set pieces.
On the other hand more than a few parents, and myself, were deeply bothered by the film. It’s not that the film is bad, rather it’s an extremely maudlin film with a semi-bleak look at death and the people we’ve left behind. Make no mistake, the Feather King is death and his kingdom the after world. For those of us who have lost people we love, especially cherished mothers, this film is a tough haul. This is one of those films where if you see the dark side, it’s hard to see it as entertainment. The parents around me were mumbling after the film that had they known what the film was they wouldn’t have come.It doesn't help that the Feather King's realm is place of narrow streets, tall buildings and depressed people. This is a not a place one wants to spend eternity. (of course the kids won't see that)
I was talking to someone from the festival who told me that the film was a gamble. Despite liking the film they weren’t sure how audiences were going to react to the film.
Darkness aside, what do I think of the film?
Aside from really being unhappy with some of the animated motion of the characters when they walk, I like the film. I think it’s a clever, film with some great set pieces. There are images in this that are really cool. As I told the people from the festival despite it all I will be looking to add the film to my collection. That right there says a great deal about the film.
Will you like the film? I don’t know. If you don’t see it as an allegory about more than an adventure it’s a great deal of fun. I have no idea beyond that.
And a huge round of applause to the New York International Children’s Film Festival for being mature enough to realize that kids can handle a film like this. Hell most kids are not going to see the film as one about loss and longing, just good time with good characters.
For tickets and more information go here.