U2's Bono Worked On One Of The Year's Most Unexpectedly Beautiful Films 

U2 frontman Bono co-wrote a whodunnit film way back in 2000 called "The Million Dollar Hotel," but 23 years later, he has made his return to the world of movies — and the result is unexpectedly gorgeous. 

This past October, Max released a short film called "Peter and the Wolf," a new adaptation of Sergei Prokofiev's symphonic classic which Bono not only co-wrote a song for but also created the artwork on which the film was based. Not bad for a rock star. This story has been adapted for the screen numerous times, but it's never looked as striking as it does here. The broad strokes of the narrative are the same as you might remember, and composer/narrator Gavin Friday's musical riff on the familiar motifs may whisk you back to hearing these tunes in your childhood, but the visuals are what stand out the most here.

Shot using practical miniature sets and overlaying animation on top of that footage, "Peter and the Wolf" has a quiet, contemplative vibe that lends it a timeless quality. Unlike the madcap blending of live-action and animation seen in something like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," the beautiful black and white cinematography (with pops of red color) here lets you luxuriate in the shadows. The tactility of the physical sets works on a thematic level, too: Peter's surroundings may be grim and devoid of color in the wake of his mother's death, but there's a fluidity to him and his assumptions about the titular wolf that's wonderfully reflected in the fact that they are intangible animated figures occupying this space. This iteration of "Peter and the Wolf" is unlike any animated project I've seen on this scale.

The continuing evolution of animation

American audiences have become so accustomed to animation looking like Disney movies that we sometimes forget there are people out there who are still pushing the boundaries of what animation can be. But in recent years, aided in part by high-profile champions like Guillermo del Toro and Phil Lord and Chris Miller loudly speaking up on its behalf, animation is finally starting to be seen as more than just kid's stuff. The fact that "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," "Elemental," "Nimona," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem," "Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget," "The Boy and the Heron," and this short film all came out this year, all with wildly different visual styles, underlines animation's staggering versatility. As long as artists continue to innovate and experiment, the future of the medium remains exceptionally bright.

I interviewed Gavin Friday, the narrator and composer behind "Peter and the Wolf," for today's episode of /Film Daily, which you can listen to below:

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