An animated short based on Hans Christian Andersen's tale about a poor young girl with a burning desire to find comfort and happiness in her life. Desperate to keep warm, the girl lights ... See full summary »
In a world that judges people by their number, Zero faces constant prejudice and persecution. He walks a lonely path until a chance encounter changes his life forever: he meets a female zero. Together they prove that through determination, courage, and love, nothing can be truly something. Written by
Zero is born into a world of strict social class and order, with him being born of the lowest denomination and thus destined for nothing. Oppressed, mocked and mistreated his whole life, Zero holds to the belief that somehow even he amount to something, even if mathematically it is impossible.
Although it ultimately has a message that is a bit clichéd and obvious, this short film is nicely paced to deliver it and has an engaging spin on the message thanks to the animation and the use of math throughout. The story sees yarn puppets with numbers on their chests going through life and we focus on a 0, who we see suffer and struggle with the system not fighting it so much as being beaten by it. In telling the story it is never really funny but it does still manage to engage because the pacing of the telling is well done, with a steady tone delivered by the narration. Indeed McKay's steady and warm voice helps it a great deal, by gentling telling the tale with enough empathy that we feel for Zero, but not overdoing it to the extent of forcing the point.
The animation matches this as it is oddly satisfying to see the simple yarn figures move around within the world. The ability to play with the faces of the figures is really limited by the approach but the animators compensate this by taking their time and also working the body language and physical actions effectively, so we understand feelings even though they are harder to show. It is a slight film without a huge reveal or impact, but it seems to know this and the pacing and construct helps it in this regard, playing to its strengths and limiting its weaknesses so that it plays quite smart and satisfying.
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