The summer movie season is always the source of uncertainty for studios, with some films turning into box office gold and others ending up as costly bombs. But this year, one very safe bet is that “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” will be the biggest animated mockumentary of the summer. Or at the very least, the biggest animated mockumentary about an anthropomorphic shell.
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” is the first feature-length take on the beloved children’s character that Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer Camp have spent years developing via three short films and two children’s books, 2011’s “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me” and 2014’s “Marcel the Shell: the Most Surprised I’ve Ever Been.” In each iteration of the character, Slate has voiced the eponymous shell and Camp has handled directing duties.
Much like the shorts, the feature film uses a mockumentary format to interview Marcel, a seashell looking for his place in this world as he deals with loneliness caused by the fact that most of his family and other housemates have left. Stop-motion animation combines live-action and traditional animation, creating the illusion that this walking seashell exists in the real world. The film also incorporates a semi-autobiographical storyline about breakups, as Slate and Camp were previously married but continue to amicably collaborate despite divorcing in 2016.
The film also features the voice talents of Isabella Rossellini, with Rosa Salazar, Thomas Mann, and Lesley Stahl also appearing in the film. It premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in 2021, where it received strong reviews and was ultimately acquired by A24. It will be the first animated film released by the indie distributor.
After its Telluride debut, IndieWire’s own Kate Erbland wrote that “in a time beset with films consumed by questions of connection, community, and change, ‘Marcel the Shell’ seamlessly marries big ideas with charm and humor (and inventive stop-motion work to boot). In short, it’s the cutest film about familial grief you’ll see all year, perhaps ever.”
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” will be released in theaters June 24. You can watch the new trailer below.
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