Lava is a 2019 Argentine sci-fi animated film about mind control via cell phones and an invasion of giant alien cats.

Directed by: Ayar Blasco to a script he wrote with Nicholas Britos and Salvador Sanz.

Excellent review:

Can a lonely tattoo artist with self-esteem issues save the world from an invasion of giant alien cats? That’s one of the questions raised by Lava, a new animated science fiction film from Argentina. Director Ayar Blasco (El Sol) and co-writers Nicolás Britos (Dead Man Tells His Own Tale) and Salvador Sanz (Necronomicón) also explore relationships, media and life in the internet age. But really, what does it matter when it comes to cats and tattoos?

Deborah (Janeane Garofalo, Mystery Men, Ratatouille) has just sat down with her friends Lazaro and Nadia to watch the season finale of Clone Acquisition and Samuel tries to hook her up with them. Suddenly, the screen turns into a mass of static electricity. Rebooting (they see the torrent file) doesn’t help. The noise is then replaced by strange images that also appear on their phones.

If the lines are unaffected, others say they can’t remember the two minutes it happened. People shrug their shoulders until giant cats appear late at night, silently watching from the rooftops. It’s an invasion, but by whom? And what do they want?

Lava is not so much interested in the invasion itself as in what happens around it and the reactions of the people. The influence of the media and our electronic lifestyle is the main theme of the film. Knowing how much time people spend looking at their electronic devices, the aliens are using this to hypnotize us, literally and not just figuratively, in front of the screens.

There is a guide to the resistance in the form of a comic book called Lava. Why a comedian? Maybe because Blasco and Sans are both comedians and animators. There’s even a good portion for a gun to fight off the invaders. It’s better than the x-ray goggles and sea monkey that were advertised when I read it.

Deborah’s rather toxic relationship with Edgar and his connection to the aliens is another topical theme in Lava. Just like relationships and sexual orientation, for that matter. The problem is that the plot is so thin that it’s easy to get lost at times. It often looks like a bare frame from which individual scenes are hung. It also doesn’t help that a few characters appear just long enough to share an anecdote or give some information before leaving the film.

Speaking of characters, I wonder what’s going on with an Asian character in Lava. She is drawn with oversensitive eyes and teeth, as if from a World War II propaganda cartoon. She also jumps like a character from a Chinese martial arts movie. I like to think that it has a different meaning in the film’s country of origin and was lost in translation. In short, it looks like overt racism.

Unlike the last animated sci-fi film I reviewed, To Your Last Death, Lava is fully animated. It’s a somewhat simplified two-dimensional style that seems to fit well with Blasco’s drawings. It gets right to the point and tackles the story in a way that brilliant computer animations can’t [read more].

Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony.

Other reviews:

At just over an hour, this quirky film manages to make fun of itself, people’s over-reliance on technology, the rejection of technology, and the continued acceptance and modern rejection of traditional gender roles.  Moreover, it does so by quietly emphasizing the importance of these social issues. Another anime review

I try to do it when there are phones, but too much commentary, end-of-the-world drama, and the resurgence of zine culture (which seems to have a moment between this and Moxie) blur the lines. I think there’s an interesting story here. But it needs some work before it can stand on its own. Chewing Gum Eater

It is certainly not for everyone, but people who love this style, or at least grew up with it, will find their liking in it. I actually came to the same conclusion about the film Unicorn Shop, but it felt more like a quirky indie film from the 2000s or mid-2010s. I just wanted to make that comparison because a return to simplicity, in all aspects, is welcome at this time. Why are we looking at

Trailer:

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