Movie Reviews

Sweet Tooth, On Netflix, Is A Children’s Adventure With Adult Sensibilities

Creators: Jim Mickie, Beth Schwartz
Writers: Jim Mickie, Beth Schwartz, Christina Ham
Directors: Jim Mickie, Toa Fraser, Robyn Grace
Cast: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Stefania LaVie Owen, Dania Ramirez, Adeel Akhtar, Aliza Vellani, Will Forte
Streaming on: Netflix

Films and tv have a peculiar fascination with apocalypses and pandemics, one thing that I by no means fairly understood. As a child, I used to be perplexed by Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. What was it about apocalyptic settings that made for good cinematic fodder? Surely you needn’t have an alien entity pushing a civilisation into wreck to provide good action-thrillers? Last yr, I watched Amazon Prime Video’s torturous present Utopia, the place  civilisation careened uncontrolled as a fictional incarnation of the COVID pandemic hit it. The present didn’t reply my query. Instead, it piqued my curiosity due to how nonsensical its plot was — its portrayal of the pandemic was off-puttingly campy. Sweet Tooth doesn’t present any satisfying solutions both. But its try is honest, which is greater than I might have requested for at this level.

The Netflix collection, developed with Warner Bros. and DC, is the tv equal of a theme park — it’s energetic and vibrant. Here, the world is walloped by a lethal H5G9 virus. People don’t know the place this pressure emerged from. A pandemic — known as “The Sick” — has taken over everybody’s lives. A new breed of species has developed as effectively, turning each subsequent child into an animal-human hybrid. Everyone concocts their very own conspiracies — some consider that the virus triggered these species, others consider that the species triggered the virus. It is an existential spin on the ‘chicken or egg’ dilemma. 

The story is about a decade after the pandemic first struck. There are armies of survivors with their very own missions — one needs to eradicate all hybrid kids and one other needs to guard them. The present is hobbled by this ethical binary. It by no means rises past, however it’s by no means slowed down by the simplicity of all of it both. In the center of it is a 10-year-old Gus (a loveable Christian Convery), a human-deer hybrid with antlers and protruding, furry ears. He’s a soft-hearted child who binges on candies and candies, commodities so uncommon {that a} terrorising group of males transport it on chartered trains to make cash. His arc is probably the most affectionate of all of them — there’s an overwhelming, usually sentimental, sense of hope in his decided seek for his mom. 

His grownup protector, a former soccer star Jepperd (a towering Nonso Anozie), usually lands into hassle when entertaining the child’s hijinks. When Gus loses his solely toy, Jepperd has to go retrieve it by wrestling his method via a number of dangerous males. Hope, on this universe, is deadly. But it’s what makes Gus and Jepperd resilient amid the adversities round them. It additionally forces Jepperd to shed his jaded, lone wolf persona. 

Sweet Tooth, On Netflix, Is A Children’s Adventure With Adult Sensibilities, Film Companion

The collection usually runs the chance of devolving right into a child-pandering, saccharine saga of adventures. But it’s smarter than that. The elaborate world-building, its seamless transition from one subplot to a different, all, enable for a sprawling show of tv. It doesn’t carry an excessive amount of weight — neither does it concern itself with the grotesque realities of a ravaged world nor does it try empty philosophy. It stays easy, sufficient to engross viewers whereas concurrently mirroring some points of the continued pandemic. We see tribes of individuals with dogmatic and unfounded beliefs, scarce assets, and even a definite sense of loneliness that might in any other case have deterred Jepperd and Gus from embarking on their quest. 

Circling again to the query I requested, there are nonetheless no simple solutions. But within the case of Sweet Tooth — a coincidentally becoming title on condition that the comedian e book this present relies on launched years in the past — it makes our actuality a tad extra palatable. It offers a type of emotional hospice, permitting the viewers to revel within the present’s dreamlike aura. 

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