By Allyson Johnson | TV | August 31, 2022 |
By Allyson Johnson | TV | August 31, 2022 |
Admittedly, I may be the wrong target audience for Netflix’s latest family series, the four-part series. lost ollie starring Jonathan Groff, Jake Johnson and Gina Rodriguez. I joke that I have a daughter, but she’s just my 27-year-old sister who lives with me and benefits from the meals I cook for her, so she doesn’t manage. My other sister, 14, is too cool to watch anything with the “family” moniker advertised, so at 30 with no kids, I stuck around just to watch the miniseries and try not to feel too embarrassed about she. .
Considering my general affinity for all things animation, the jury’s out on why this title seemed off to my tastes, especially with director Peter Ramsey’s attachment (Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse) and creator Shannon Tindle (Kubo and the two strings).
It took, oh, I don’t know, maybe two minutes tops before I realized that this limited series would make me feel things. He was right, and he did, but perhaps with less force than others. While it mustered some well-held tears for myself, I can see it opening the floodgates for others, especially in a final tag that doesn’t surprise so much as it deepens the effect of the whole story. It is not played out as a cheap shock as a moment of contemplation and belief in the ties that bind us to our past.
Created by Tindle, the series is based on the 2016 children’s book. Ollie’s Odyssey by author William Joyce. The story follows a lost stuffed rabbit, Ollie (Jonathan Groff), who goes on an adventure to find the boy, Billy (Kesler Talbot), who lost him. Tucked away and forgotten in a thrift store, he’s gotten the unlikely help of two other misfit toys and memorabilia from another time, Zozo (Tim Blake Nelson), an old-school carnival relic, and Rosy (Mary J. Blige), a mosaic. stuffed animal that she can’t remember a time when she had an owner who loved her.
The design is incredible as the toys are brought to life with the VFX work of Industrial Light and Magic. Ollie in particular is a work of wonder, with tactile stitching running down his side and texture and depth to his gait, and a sense of presence that is aided by the patterned details on his felt and wool-filled body. Ollie is worn and loved, patched up with spare parts and old Band-Aids, his eyes large and expressive, his long bunny ears drooping and trailing behind him.
Perfectly voiced by Jonathan Groff who, while he has shown strong character voice work in the past with Disney’s Frozen, you are given a lot more to do here as the main protagonist. Likeable, a little naive, and impossibly loyal to getting back with his son, Groff imbues Ollie with the right amount of curiosity and seriousness.
From Ollie’s first memory, shown in fleeting, non-linear moments of recollection, it’s not hard to figure out what’s going to happen, or what’s already happened, to get to this point where we first meet the character. , packed for an antique store. There is a commitment to the predictability of the script, as it refutes the need to surprise with revelations or hackneyed plot twists. His story cares little about the order in which things happen and more about how these moments affect Billy, Ollie and the rest of the characters that orbit them. It is, after all, a children’s story: it is just one that, while allowing its story to be absorbed rather than dictated, never speaks ill of the main audience or belittles their powers of reflection.
Despite only being four episodes, moments and entire sequences are delayed and the 40-50 minute runtimes feel long enough as the plot unfolds. There has to have been a cut from this that could have been a well-written feature film; there is little evidence to show the need to split the story as it stands. Episode two in particular stops things going, even if it’s the episode with the characters Ollie, Zozo, and Rosy traveling through the most real space.
The result is a narrative caught between media, and while the story is ultimately effective and resonates with enough emotional beats while maintaining a technical mastery of visual effects and character designs, it could have landed with greater impact if some of the unnecessary padding has been trimmed.
Unafraid to dwell on life’s darkest and most sobering moments, the film shares more DNA with stories like the velvet rabbit either charlotte’s websitealthough the obvious comparison for many will be toy Story 3. There is a sincerity to lost ollie that’s worth celebrating, especially when compared to so many mainstream, modern family and/or kids movies that use the snark as a weapon as an easy method of entertaining parents and their kids. lost ollie instead, it defends the sweet naivety of childhood and how we see the world at that age, small and unassuming but with eyes wide open to take it all in. That’s why Ollie works so well as a leading man, acting as the wiser than the eyes and ears of his year to Billy, just as confused by the loss and pain that people endure and/or cause each other, at the same time. time feeling responsible for his happiness and therefore an old soul.
Possessing eternal energy, lost ollie is a real breath of fresh air for those looking for family stories that don’t feel like they were made in a factory. Wobbly at times where the dying saintly mother trope doubles as the father barely holds together, it’s otherwise disarming and sweet in its ability to recall why items like an Ollie recall such fond and powerful memories as they They are associated with some of the earliest and defining moments of our adolescence, for better and for worse. lost ollie it’s charming, heartfelt, and a tremendous piece of meticulous art and, perhaps most of all, a story of family ties and those who make them.
Allyson is a New England-based writer and editor-in-chief of The Young Folks. you can follow her on twitter.
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Header Image Source: Netflix