You would rarely see a kid who is not afraid of the dark. Netflix came up with an animated fantasy comedy film, Orion and the Dark, where an 11-year-old kid spends a night befriending the Dark. Once through the 93 minutes, many kids would start loving this dim reality of our daily lives.

The story begins with a troubled youngster named Orion (voiced by Jason Trembley) who cannot communicate with his colleagues, gets easily frightened, and believes every bad thing can happen. He cannot flush a toilet fearing it might flood the bathroom and believes a simple field trip might trigger a chain reaction that would end his family’s bloodline.

Soon, the over-thinking boy comes in direct contact with Dark, (voiced brilliantly by Paul Walter Hausey). Coincidentally, Dark was also afraid of being ignored and useless to the world, just like Orion. It does not know why people are afraid of him but Dark steps out to Orion to make him feel safe. Everyone likes Light and this comes out as Dark’s biggest fear. He takes Orion on an adventure-filled roller-coaster ride around the world to prove there is nothing to be afraid of at night.

On the trip, Orion meets a group of ‘Night Entities’ featuring Sweet Dreams, Sleep, Unexplained Noises, Insomnia and Quiet. Dark introduces Orion to them to make him understand the mechanics of what goes on when the lights go out. Light (another entity personified as a bright yellow surfer dude in sunglasses) is voiced by Ike Barinholtz and oozes confidence, showing to the audience that this is the reason why Dark is insecure.

“I just wish people would give me a chance,” appears as Dark’s plea to everyone. However, with his googly eyes and bright smile, Dark steals the show and convinces the boy.

Dark is a fear we all have and it leads to all the scary thoughts, from going to bed to getting up, everything is disturbed. The movie comes up with life lessons, though gives a feeling of Pixar’s Inside Out (2015) as well as Disney’s Aladdin (1992) — the genie part.

An adaptation of Emma Yarlett’s popular children’s book of the same name, it is written by Charlie Kauffman, it has been directed by Sean Charmatz, making his feature film debut. The director’s earlier work as a member of the art department includes Trolls and The Angry Birds Movie 2, making this a trip upwards. As for the movie, it gives the message that the world could be a beautiful place if one learns to live with fear. Enjoy!

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 4th, 2024

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