Robot Dreams Is A Unique Eye-Opening Look at Companionship Via a Robot and Dog

ROBOT DREAMS: Dog and Robot walk in snow.

Director Pablo Berger adapts Sara Varon’s best-selling graphic novel Robot Dreams into a sweet, rich emotional rollercoaster filled with themes of loneliness and companionship.

Robot Dreams Synopsis: In an alternate reality where animals are the primary species, Dog buys a robot and it becomes his companion. However, after accidentally swimming with him, Dog is forced to leave Robot. As time moves on, Dog and Robot must then confront their loss of ever other while also trying to move on.

Rich Animation in Robot Dreams

ROBOT DREAMS: Dog and Robot are walking through a street filled with other animated characters.
Dog and Robot in Robot Dreams. Courtesy of Neon.

With Robot Dreams, writer-director Pablo Berger and company brings to life Sara Varon’s graphic novel in stunning detail. Set over the course of a year in an alternate 1980s New York, Berger crafts a tale regarding separation anxiety and the process of moving on. In addition, Berger also explores companionship and what it means to be a companion. Whether it’s platonically or romantically. All through 2D animation, thanks to Animation Director Benoît Feroumont. The animation in itself displaying peaks of blues, reds, and oranges as well as other colors. All of them representing a dream-like state. Which given the title makes sense.

ROBOT DREAMS: Dog poses for a picture with Robot.
Dog and Robot in Robot Dreams. Courtesy of Neon.

This fits within the main characters Dog and Robot. Structured as a breaking up film, Berger weaves in different vignettes of how these characters are processing this. This coincides with the animation, with it being different from each of the character’s perspective. For example, with Dog’s perspective, the animation is harsh and dark. While from Robot’s perspective, it’s colorful, but yet abstract. Additionally, the film serves as a love letter to the city of New York. From Central Park to Coney Island, the film explores NYC as a vibrant, colorful community. Complete with a very realistic aesthetic. It also manages to explore the 80s setting complete with drinks like Tab, square TVs, and the rise of Hip-Hop at the time.

Sounds, Sounds, Sounds in Robot Dreams

ROBOT DREAMS: Dog eats a hot dog with Robot.
Dog and Robot in Robot Dreams. Courtesy of Neon.

However, with all that animation, comes a lack of dialogue from the characters. Because of this, the sound, score, and soundtrack supply all the movement and provides emotion. With the sound, sound designer Fabiola Ordoyo crafts a busy NYC complete with cars, horns, lights, and a manner of different sounds. It even becomes more evident during a number of dream sequences where Ordoyo and company start mixing sounds together. Thus, creating a surreal-like experience. Additionally, this is then combined with the film’s soundtrack. Which uses songs such as “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire as a motif throughout. However, songs like “Happy” by William Bell are also used as motif. Mainly to describe the characters’ emotions.

Finally, when it comes to the score by composer Alfonso de Vilallonga, Vilallonga uses a mixture of jazz-wave with piano and xylophones. Making a harmonious blend between the two. It also contributes to the tone of the film. Which is at one moment – funny and silly. But, the next moment, sad and melancholy. We also see that the music matches well with the editing. Editor Fernando Franco edits the one-hour and forty-two minute film with a precise feel. Therefore, allowing the audience to take in the animation, while also not laboring on it too much.

Final Thoughts

ROBOT DREAMS: Dog and Robot sit down on a bench overlooking the Williamsburg Bridge.
Dog and Robot in Robot Dreams. Courtesy of Neon.

All in all, Robot Dreams is a rich, emotional take on companionship and separation anxiety. Using two-dimensional animation, Berger and company adapts Sara Varon’s graphic novel. All in stunning detail. In addition, the animation mixed in with a lovely score and soundtrack flows like the wind. Overall, Robot Dreams is a stunning display of music and animation. One that is definitely recommend to see on the big screen.

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