In 2019, Aquaman—a.k.a. Jason Mamoa—referred to humanity as a “disease” due to the way it’s treating its oceans. Indeed, there is extensive evidence of humanity’s impact: including serious coral reef damage, and, of course, a whole lot of plastic pollution. To highlight the damage of the latter disaster, filmmaker Pascal Schelbli has made a Pixar-like short. One that, in an oddly ironic way, turns plasticware into sea life.
Colossal picked up on Schelbli’s short film, The Beauty, which he first released in 2019. It’s only recently, however, that the short’s gone viral thanks to the Swiss filmmaker posting it to Vimeo. (Although the short did win the award for best animated film at the prestigious Student Academy Awards in 2020.)
The three-minute short features masterful animation, and the clever idea of turning various everyday plastic objects into different species of the sea. The beginning of the short first hints at the concept with a coral made of spoons and straws, then unveils a whole world made of plastic sea creatures. Including a plastic-bottle whale, plastic-bag jellyfish, and an eel made to look like a strip of tire. The last of which may seem out of place, but isn’t, as tires contain plastic polymers.
“The trigger for this film was obviously our massive plastic pollution issue, which we all have to deal with these days,” Schelbli says on his website. “But, instead of showing another mournful stomach full of plastic bags, I thought, what if plastic could be integrated into the sea life and nature solves the problem?” he adds.
Schelbli also says on his site that the film should take viewers on journey; one where all their feelings of guilt regarding ocean pollution disappear. But in the end, the filmmaker says viewers should “wake up” and realize that we need to change something. If we don’t, there may not be a way to save the strange and beautiful life in the sea.