REVIEW: Adam and Dog [2012]

Score: 8/10 | ★ ★ ★

Rating: NR | Runtime: 16 minutes | Release Date: 2012 (USA)
Director(s): Minkyu Lee
Writer(s): Minkyu Lee

Ever wonder how dog became man’s best friend? Not only did animator Minkyu Lee wonder, but he also decided to create an answer that went as far back as Eden—before Adam even met Eve. Lost inside this wondrous forest of colorful leaves and animals of all shapes and sizes was our first four-legged friend roaming around for meaning and purpose amongst the great unknown. And when he breaks free from the scary depths of the garden’s darkest corners into a wide open, sun-streaked field, the lanky visage of a new, calm creature captivates him. Thus begins the courtship of Adam and Dog.

A Disney animator who actually took leave of the company after working on Winnie the Pooh and Wreck-It Ralph, Lee crafted his Oscar nominated short from his own pocket during off hours. It’s a gorgeous use of two-dimensional animation that obviously utilizes static backgrounds for its characters to move above, yet somehow retains a consistency of saturation that blurs the delineation between fields. His dog, humans, and menagerie of critters are meticulously drawn in dark outline with fluid movements as the sanctuary of Eden becomes too pure for humanity to remain.

Without words—save a barking match between our titular leads—the quick domestication of Dog becomes a loving depiction of friendship that rises above petty differences. When Adam finds Eve and does his best to lose his first friend, Dog waits in a bittersweet time-lapse sequence atop a rocky clearing in hopes they will return. And then when the torrential downpour begins to signal the infamous bite of an apple that commences their exodus, he finds himself saddled with the choice to remain in the woods or follow Adam to wherever his path may lead. You can easily guess which direction he ultimately chooses.

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