Moose, a seven-minute animated short narrated by Samuel L. Jackson (The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Avengers: Infinity War) is a coming-of-age tale where Teenage Moose (Jonah Hwang, Shameless, Henry Danger) is witness to the brutal killing of his father (Walt Sloan, Day 1, Finding Hope) by a Human Father and Human Son (Mike Grosse and Matthew Uzarraga) hunting duo. As Teenage Moose watches the humans cart his father’s body onto the back of a pickup truck, he sees his father’s spirit appear before him. Father Moose tells his son that although his own life is over, he must move on and continue to live his life.
In utter despair, and with the help of a wise Owl (Kathy Bates, Misery, Titanic), Teenage Moose finds his way to the hunters’ cabin in an attempt to steal all the rifles to save the rest of his family. Only when he arrives he witnesses a scene that’s heartbreaking and horrific: the hunters have already killed most of his family members and proudly mounted their heads on the walls.
Fearing for his own life and saddened by the tragic realization of all that he has lost, Teenage Moose stands with his head in the open window for just one moment long enough for Human Boy to awaken and see him there. From here the short takes a turn that many may – or may not – see coming.
Written and directed by Jonah D. Ansell (Cadaver, First Bass), the tender interactions in Moose are sure to leave even the driest eyes moist, as jaws fall to the floor in disbelief and compassion for these two young souls. What begins as a sad commentary on the sociopolitical views that many are witnessing today, with policies threatening to allow hunters to kill more and more innocent wildlife, concludes with a bonding and attempt to understand that isn’t far removed from classics like The Lion King and Pocahontas.
Aside from the breathtaking storytelling, viewers will be drawn into the world of Moose by way of creative and stunning animation that portrays the artistry and immense talent of animation director Abraham Dieckman (Cadaver) who, with help from Pamela Goodman, brings these expressive characters to life.
Moose makes a point to show that there is a delicate balance that must be found and upheld in the world, between humans and animals. However, all too often, this idealism is ignored, or worse, taken advantage of at the expense of those who cannot fend for themselves. Their voices are ignored, their needs unheeded, and their lives taken silently, like shadows that walk the night and are gone by daybreak.
This silence must be broken, and Samuel L. Jackson penetrates the darkness of the animal world and sheds a light upon it for all who can find seven minutes in their day to watch and listen.
It’s easy for humans to assume that animals can’t feel, care, or understand the world around them, but what if for seven minutes every human pondered the idea that animals do care, they do feel, they do know and even understand – probably much more than we ever give them credit for. Imagine how different life would be if we tried to exist in a more balanced world, how incredibly special and beautiful that might be.
Animal lovers are sure to love this animated short, while even those not entirely smitten with our furry friends will still relate to its underlying theme of loss and learning to move on. Losing a parent or loved one can change how we think about life and the larger questions. Moose beautifully portrays how the death of Father Moose affects how Teenage Moose and Human Boy see each other, leading all of us to reconsider the larger world and our place in it.