The contemporary media landscape is made up almost entirely of reboots and franchise films. Production companies are apparently hesitant to release an entertainment product without a recognizable (read: internationally profitable) cast of characters. It’s not always a problem. Film franchises allow moviegoers to fall in love with their favorite characters, and modern audiences rarely feel dissatisfied with an unfinished script. Alternatively, the current obsession with cinematic universalization of just about every movie that hits the big screen has led to some exciting new footage.
However, sometimes the continuation of an already existing medium can serve as an emotionally cathartic and worthy successor. This is undeniably the case with the recent Marcel the shod shell, a stop-motion animated film that revolves around a shy, adorably anthropomorphic seashell named Marcel. The film, which is based on a series of identical shorts that were all released over a decade ago, proved to be another smash hit for A24.
The titular Marcel is adorably goofy, and the film takes the seashell on a whirlwind adventure, which explores themes of familial love and modern-influenced culture. Marcel the Shell is voiced by Jenny Slate, who has been a creative contributor to the Marcel Extended Universe since the series debuted in 2010. Here’s how Jenny Slate did Marcel the shod shell essential for more than a decade.
Jenny Slate’s incredible range of voices
The titular shell staring wide-eyed and wearing sneakers in Marcel the shod shell is voiced by Jenny Slate, a voice actor who, in the decade after the original Marcel the shell video came out, made a name for itself. She has played a wide range of characters in live action and animated media.
Slate portrayed Tammy Larson, a vain bully who attends school with the Belcher children, on Bob’s Burgers since 2012. In 2016, she voiced Dawn Bellwether, an infamous lamb with ill intentions for the city’s predators, in the film zootopia and, in 2017, took on the role of Harley Quinn in The Lego Batman Movie. For several years, Slate played Missy Foreman-Greenwald on Big mouth before handing over the role to Ayo Edebiri (How does it end, bear) when Slate decided that she, as a white woman, shouldn’t voice an African American persona.
The delightfully awkward conversational style of Marcel the Seashell
the original Marcel the shod shell the videos consist almost entirely of Marcel muttering references to his small stature and quaint life amid the clutter of his human-sized home. For example, in the first line of the first video, released in 2010, Marcel introduces himself as “Mar-shell” before sighing in embarrassment and trying his introduction again.
In the next scene, the seashell expresses his embarrassment over a mess of greens left over from a salad-making party he had recently hosted. Later, Marcel asks if the filmmaker wants to see him talking on the phone, and the audience laughs at the character’s small stature next to a flip phone (which, to modern audiences, is reminiscent of the short’s 2010 release ) . Towards the end of the first short, Marcel reveals to the filmmaker, Dean Fleischer Camp, that someone close to him has killed another seashell by impaling it on a brush. Camp laughs, noting that the method of murder seems rather violent for a relative of the shy Marcel. The adorable shell responds, “We’re not violent unless provoked.” Jenny Slate, an actress herself, has excellent comedic timing and brings the full weight of her comedic abilities to Marcel the shod shell.
Released June 24, 2022, Marcel the shod shell could very well be one of the best movies released to date. Some fans and critics have even gone so far as to suggest the film should be considered for an Oscar. Whether or not the film is destined for Oscar gold, Marcel the shod shell is a heartwarming image that speaks volumes about modern society, as well as the very nature of love. It’s unlikely that anyone involved in the production, given that the original shorts were released over a decade ago, that Marcel will be the subject of a feature film.
Nonetheless, when tasked with reviving the character, Slate undeniably delivered. Few actors, outside of those in the oldest franchises on the modern media landscape, can claim to have successfully portrayed a character for more than ten years. As such, Marcel the shod shell cements Jenny Slate as a world-class voice talent.
The film is currently showing in theaters.