(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Movie: Save Ralph
Where You Can Stream It: YouTube
The Pitch: Spencer Susser (Hesher) directed this stop-motion short film faux-documentary about a rabbit named Ralph (the voice of Taika Waititi) who is used by humans for cosmetics testing, and the horrors that creatures like him endure because some companies refuse to update their archaic testing practices. It’s disturbing and heartbreaking and manipulative and powerful, all at the same time.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: Because it’s the type of galvanizing video that might actually inspire change.
Comparisons to Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox are probably inevitable, but I love the character design of Ralph, with his big expressive face and eternally optimistic personality shining through as endures horror after horror. The production design is wonderful, too – note the rocket ship painting in the bathroom scene when Ralph is talking about humans going to space, a detail that humanizes the character even more and gives you the idea that he has hopes and dreams and passions that continue when the camera isn’t on him. You might miss it because of Waititi’s accent and upbeat delivery, but Ralph’s entire family – including his children! – have all been killed by humans, and there are memories of those family members sprinkled throughout the background of Ralph’s 1970s-style apartment, like the “World’s Greatest Dad” cup that holds his toothbrush (and maybe even the toothbrushes of his dead kids, too).
Look, I’m not trying to be willfully naive here. I know the companies who still participate in this type of animal testing are huge and have tons of well-paid lobbyists at their beck and call who can influence legislation on their behalf and do whatever they can to make sure regular people don’t think about the cruelty that happens during tests like these. But every change starts somewhere, and with the involvement of people like Waititi and fellow voice actors Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Pom Klementieff, Rodrigo Santoro, and Tricia Helfer, maybe this short film will be the spark that gets enough people to care about this to be able to counteract the apathy that these companies are banking on consumers having about this topic.
I don’t know about you, but watching this has convinced me to check out the labels and do some research about everything in my bathroom. Visit the official website for more information.
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