So I originally had one post planned for this movie. But it was way, way too long and I split it up to make this post and my previous post! My last post is a lot more of me expressing the internal ramble that I constantly had while watching Angel’s Egg, while this one is the more ‘review/analysis/actual thoughts that aren’t me yelling at my laptop screen in confusion’ post!
- Thoughts on Themes and Symbolism
Firstly, I would like to say that I am so glad that I went learnt about Christianity for 12 years because without it I would have no clue what was happening in this movie, or at least would struggle with it a lot more.
This movie is definitely an exploration on faith. There’s religious symbolism all the way throughout this movie with things like the story of Noah’s ark playing a key role in the plot. There’s also many religious symbols that are mentioned/featured in the film such as the cross and egg.
So it’s obvious the egg symbolises hope (because of the dove from Noah’s ark and you know, birds and eggs) and that it represents the girl’s blind faith. The girl is forced to mature (literally as she becomes an adult after falling off the cliff) when the egg is revealed to have nothing inside it to show her loss of faith and even potentially, the loss of that innocence that children especially tend to have when they’re younger and believe whatever they are told. She even protected the egg and held onto it like it was her own, and this is her literally cling to her false hope to only have it broken later. This is one of the reasons why I think that she cries after finding the broken egg – because her faith system has come crashing down around her – and the other reason would be because there’s nothing much worse that being betrayed by a person you trusted. And that’s exactly what happened in this film. The fact that the guy is the one to break the egg could be some referencing to how religious followers place their trust in religious leaders, scripture etc. and sometimes, that trust is betrayed and rattles the followers.
The guy though has obviously lost his faith. He is way more skeptical that the girl and just seems really tired at this point. It’s like he’s had enough disappointment in his life and doesn’t want any more false hope like the girl has. He’s waited a long time for the bird to come and he knows that it never has and probably never will. He expresses this perfectly to the girl when she is hugging the egg and talking about how she can hear its winds flapping in the air and its heartbeat because his responses essentially debunk the things that she’s saying. He tells her that it’s, “just the wind,” and other logical explanations like that. I thought that this scene could also be showing that faith shouldn’t be, in a way, romanticised. For example, obviously it’s about the blind faith that he girl has, but even the way she describes her hope for the egg is very lyrical while the guy’s explanations about what is happening are very blunt. She has this almost ‘fantastic’ opinion on what the egg will become and how she can, “hear its wings flying across the sky.”
I also thought having the cross be the object which was used by the guy to crack open the egg was interesting. The cross is a symbol of Jesus’ resurrection and Easter Sunday is all about hope – even Jesus is considered to represent hope. So to have the symbol of Christianity, a symbol of hope, be the thing to crush the girl’s blind faith placed in the egg, that’s a definite statement there.
- Thoughts on the Characters
The characters are drawn to be very expressive. Their emotions are easily conveyed through the use of colour, the drawings of their face and body language and occasionally through dialogue as well.
I like that neither of the characters get characterised as villainous too. Despite that the guy abuses the girl’s trust when he breaks the egg, neither are shown to be necessarily wrong or right in their opinions (especially considering that you could technically say that the guy is the ‘antagonist’ or the story because he stands in direct opposition to the girl’s desires), and I feel like this story is more about their individual journeys with their own faith than anything else. It would also feel wrong to condemn one of the characters over the other for their beliefs. And while the movie suggests that blind faith is not a good thing, because we are never really given any explanation as to why the characters believe in what they do, we can only hope to understand both their sides of the story and how they justified their actions. I mean, we never even get an answer to who the guy is and we can only inference that the girl is the ‘angel’ that is referred to in the title.
I did think though that is was a bit weird at the start of the film for the girl to be a child. But then I realised that it definitely works better than if she was older. She grows and learns throughout this film and has to learn to let go of her blind faith – and this suits the developmental journey of a child well. The guy however seems to be a soldier and is older, which could imply that he has seen more and experienced more in his life. Which explains why he questions thing and is much more skeptical of everything the the girl is. She hasn’t had any experience to ruin her blind faith yet, while he’s probably had plenty of things knock him back before that he’s had to fight his way through. Even their personality contrasts helps to establish these different approaches to faith they both have – as the girl has hope and blind faith still in her young years and has to literally mature at the end of the film into an adult when she realises that her faith has been misplaced. While the man is a lot more stoic and resigned.
I’d also like to know why the girl is so pale (she may not get sun?) because I couldn’t really figure out if this was some artistic choice or some symbolic choice? I don’t know. But I had the thought that maybe it could also be one way of showing that the girl believes in things that are ‘otherworldly’ such as the faith she has for the egg and so by drawing her as more ‘otherworldly’, this contrasts her against the man as he is tanned physically and faith-wise is practically the opposite of her.
- Thoughts About the Plot
It gives no solid answers and everything is pretty much up for interpretation. So it can leave us with a lot more questions than answers… Though I do think that the story and the characters’ journeys are conveyed very well throughout the film, predominately through the animation, music and little bit of dialogue. Nothing is really explained in the first half of the film though as it seems to be more story world building part than anything else and works to introduce the characters in order to build upon everything as we reach the climax and conclusion of the animation. Though this first half was really what raised a lot of questions about the movie for me before it launched into its explanation of what was going on and hints as to what happened to the world to make it this way, so it definitely made watching the movie more interesting for me since I had no clue what was going on.
- Thoughts on Animation/Music
So if it wasn’t already clear, I love the way this story is told! The visual storytelling approach isn’t something that I’ve really experienced a lot of before, but I think that it’s great. There’s clearly been a lot of thought that’s gone behind every choice made in this film to make it impactful.
The times when there’s dialogue also seem to suit the characters well as their body language, tone of voice and expressions all align. Though to be honest the dialogue was actually what confused me the most. Like where she started talking about fish as the soldiers ran past? And since we didn’t have anything to really go off of about why the world is the way that it is and what the laws and confinements of this story world are, it was pretty baffling. The solders were were clearly faceless for a reason, though I can’t really come up with an explanation other than that they are waiting to be freed and so the only thing that they can do to try to make this freedom a reality for them is to try and fight against the fish? Maybe the soldiers don’t believe though in the cause they’re fighting or have been trying for so long that they’ve given up hope? That they view their efforts as futile like how their grapples are useless against the fish as they can’t pin one down. The only purpose the soldiers seem to have in their lives is to defeat these fish because the soldiers are only awake when the fish are – so this could emphasis how pointless everything is (which really worlds well with the depressing sort of mood this animation has).
And the music was perfect! In parts the music really did contribute to evoking an emotion response from the audience to create a tense or sad (etc.) mood from the audience. But other times the music seemed to more just be noise (like the sirens). The different choices made for the soundtrack on this film really did help with the visual storytelling though.
And finally, the aesthetic was perfect. From the dark colours used to the animation style to the Victorian architecture – it all suits the ‘dark fantasy’ world so well.
So I think that I managed to get a decent grasp on what was going on throughout the film. And I think that the points I’m talking about here have at least some evidence to back up my interpretations on what was happening.
Though I don’t think that this animation is really meant to be understand in its entirety, rather than make on impression upon the audience. And that means that there’s many, many different interpretations out there of this film! 🙂