LAVA (2019) Review

A quirky, surreal, adult animation, it definitely won’t appeal to everyone.

Director: Ayar Blasco

Screenwriter: Ayar Blasco, Nicolás Britos, Salvador Sanz

Starring: Ayar Blasco, Justina Bustos, Sofía Gala Castiglione

Genre: Animation, Sci Fi

Runtime: 67 Minutes

Language: English

Rating: 2 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

A Copy of this Film was supplied to be by TriCoast in exchange for review.

Lava follows Debora, a tattoo artist in Buenos Aires, and her friends as they gather at home to watch the latest episode of the most popular TV show around.  However the broadcast is interrupted by a hypnotic signal that causes people to start killing themselves and others.  This is the beginning of an invasion of earth by giant cat creatures, a giant snake and giant witches.  Only a select few are immune to the signal, and they have to fight to survive in the now post-apocalyptic city.

Well…I don’t know what I was expecting from this film, but it sure was an experience.  Surreal really is the only word I can use to accurately describe it.  The plot is pretty crazy, and things seem to happen out of nowhere, there is no logical progression at all.  The ending is incredibly abrupt, and I am not sure I can properly tell you exactly what happened.  And while these facts do help to show what the chaos of the end of the world would really look like, it doesn’t necessarily make for great storytelling.

The animation style is simplistic, reminiscent of things like ‘Cyanide and Happiness’, and while this style is perfectly fine, it’s not my preferred style.  The characters are all pretty unlikeable, and are caricatures of the people that they trying to be.  It even goes so far as to have a blatant stylised version of a Chinese girl, complete with Buck teeth and slanted eyes.  I don’t know if that is something you can get away with in Argentina, but here in the UK, you would get slated for that kind of representation.  

The plot itself I kind of enjoyed.  I am big fan of sci-fi and I liked the message that they were trying to get across about reliance on Technology, and peoples attachment to their screens.  But I think the plot needed more explanation as it totally lost me in a few places.  I liked the blend of mythology and science fiction, it had a lot of potential, but I think it just got muddled in it’s attempt to be zany and of beat. 

The last fifteen minutes of the film, while the credits run are interspersed with little short animations, with even rougher art, and I don’t think these are necessary.  They don’t relate to the story and don’t start he same characters.  I would rather have had another ten minutes of story development.

This film definitely not be for everyone, fans of a certain style of adult animation will probably find it’s charm and as a sci-fi fan, I found things to like in it.  But I don’t think it will be a general crowd pleaser.

Rock Salt Releasing will release ‘Lava’ onto various digital streaming platforms on 15/3/2021.

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