‘Arlo The Alligator Boy‘ is the directorial debut of Ryan Crego, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Clay Senechal. It is a Netflix musical adventure that utilizes 2-D animation.
Arlo (Michael J. Woodard) is a young boy living in the swamplands who also happens to be part alligator. After he expresses a desire to know who he is, his adopted mother Edmée (Annie Potts) gives him a medical bracelet identifying him as the son of Ansel Beauregard (Vincent Rodriguez III) from New York City. With her blessing, he leaves the swamp and gets spotted by Stucky (Jennifer Coolidge) and Ruff (Flea), a mother and son who run a gator farm. They want to use him as a prop, but he is rescued by Bertie (Mary Lambert), a giant teenaged girl. The two head out together before connecting with Teeny Tiny Tony (Tony Hale), a rodent-sized hustler, his half-tiger driver Alia (Haley Tju), a pink furball Furlecia (Jonathan Van Ness), and fish-man Marcellus (Brett Gelman) who agree to help Arlo get to New York and find his father.
The only thing negative I have to say is that the movie is incredibly fast-paced. Outside of Arlo, the film moves so fast you do not get to know any of the characters. While Bertie is a kind and generous person, we do not really know her motivations. It is the same for the other characters. Why are they on the road? Where was Arlo’s excitement in finding other beings like him? Is it normal for morphed creatures to be in this world? The movie moved so fast a lot of these questions were never fully explored, but I know a sequel TV show is in the works, perhaps these questions will be answered there.
Besides that, the story is very charming. You genuinely have a good time watching Arlo explore the world and making new friends. His passion for learning about his past grip you all the way to the end. This could not have been done without the talented voice cast. Everyone did a good job with their roles and brought their characters to life. The music was complimentary to the movie, not mind-blowing, but it worked for the story that was presented.
As for the animation, wow. It is vibrant, colorful, and brilliant. It truly reminds you how 2-D animation can relay the plot of a movie, oftentimes outpacing live-action or CGI. All of the character illustrations were designed with a fine-tooth comb. It is a shame that movie companies are dismissing 2-D for CGI, as I think the former is superior. Hopefully, we’ll get more of this from Netflix.
Bottom line, Arlo The Alligator Boy is a charming adventure that has some of the best 2-D animation. Hopefully, we will see more of this content from Netflix.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Some violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: I’ve always tried to protect you from the outside world, not because I was afraid for what it would do to you, but maybe for fear of what it would do to me.
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of the anime films Charming and Secret Magic Control Agency. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.