Review: Orion and the Dark

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Title: Orion and the Dark
MPA Rating: TV-Y7
Director: Sean Charmatz
Starring: Jacob Tremblay, Paul Walter Hauser, Angela Bassett
Runtime: 1 hr 33 mins

What It Is: Orion (Tremblay) is a kid that is literally scared of everything. He even illustrates these fears in a notebook that he carries with him. His biggest fear is something many children face…the dark. So when Dark (Hauser) introduces himself he wants to show Orion that the dark isn’t such a scary place. With his gaggle of nighttime apparitions at his side he’ll try to show Orion the better side of the dark. And perhaps just maybe he won’t be so afraid of everything…or at the very least no longer afraid of the dark.

What We Think: First and foremost let’s get this weird fact out of the way. This is a children’s animated film written by Charlie Kaufman. That in and of itself is pretty dope. The fact that there are two Oscar nominees at the top of the marquee is another interesting fact. Visually the film has a cool style that is quite contemporary. If nothing else the story is really quite whimsical is the best ways and the voice acting is top notch. Even if the beats themselves are familiar there’s so much exploration done here that keeps this feeling fresh enough. On top of everything it’s a lovely story of childhood fears and how debilitating they can be. It doesn’t hold the audiences hands and by proxy it doesn’t talk down to children. Something a lot of kids movies could stand to take a lesson in.

Our Grade: B+, This is a PERFECT film for younger kids. It is also entertaining enough to satisfy those who are a little bit older as well. Charlie Kaufman continues to reaffirm why he is held in such regard as a writer. He’s able to take concepts that are simple and complicate them. Make them interesting. He’s able to take difficult concepts and simplify while somehow keeping them intriguing. This is a brilliant kids film to start the year and a fantastic premiere for Netflix in 2024!

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