Marcel is one huge personality in a little tiny body; smaller than a quarter, this larger than life character is moving from his three part YouTube series to the big screen. The feature film, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, follows him along on his quest to find family.
Voiced by Jenny Slate, Marcel, with an endearing timidity, shares some really powerful thoughts. His words of wisdom have a humility and child-like unsophistication about them. Fans of this viral sensation can’t wait to join him for this heartwarming adventure.
Marcel’s introduction set the stage for all of his dialogue to come. Stuttering over his own name, and then reassuring viewers of his self confidence, basically sums up the character of Marcel. He’s a walking contradiction in the best possible way.
Not many shells can say they have shoes, or a face, or actually say anything at all. So inviting the viewer into his world opens their eyes to a perspective they have certainly never experienced, and likely never considered. But at the same time there is a comfort in the relatability of that feeling of being incredibly small in this gigantic universe.
The guessing games are non-stop with Marcel. He is keenly aware that he has to do things a bit differently than an average person. He tells about most of his everyday life with the filmmaker using this exciting, unguarded guess-what approach.
Hang gliding is not something most people have had the opportunity to do, so imagining the grandiosity of this tiny googley-eyed shell’s aspirations is comical yet inspiring. If a miniature mollusk can dream this big, what’s to stop his fans from doing the same? Marcel is an inspiration and will have some adults acting like children again.
After saying this, Marcel shares his method of de-stressing. He plops on top of some loose dirt and starts wiggling until he is completely buried beneath it and lets out a big sigh of relief. While this practice may not be a direct recommendation, it certainly serves as a reminder for the audience to find the things that help them decompress and do those.
Even the most seemingly carefree types experience tension occasionally. Marcel never hesitates to be vulnerable with the filmmaker. He communicates his authentic feelings, whether they be high or low, with complete honesty. This is one animated character that can make the audience emotional alongside him.
Marcel’s self-esteem can be heard in so much of what he says and how he says it. Being small does not equal being insecure. Marcel knows who he is, and without pretending to be someone he’s not, manages to embody a level of unshakeable confidence.
Comparison isn’t something Marcel does to others, and it is not something he has considered imposing against himself. Being one-of-a-kind is embraced as a strength, and if others attempt to put him in a box, he just holds his head up high as he parades right out of it.
In the vastness of his imagination, Marcel decides to fashion himself a dog using a lint ball and a leash made of hair. Obviously, his size presents an obstacle for him to adopt a canine of his own, but he doesn’t let that stop him. If he can’t have a real-life hero and animal team up situation, he’ll make a pet himself.
Rather than letting challenges get in his way, he keeps his spirits up and smiles through what others might view as a disappointment. He proudly and pleasantly walks his lint ball while declaring his love for it and singing along the way. Marcel’s bright outlook is enough to shine on any dark day.
While reflecting on the life of a real-life dog, Marcel takes note of his worry-free existence in an admirable way. He is amused by the curly white giant napping on the couch next to him until he hears a doorbell and jumps off of the couch barking. Then Marcel screams and retreats between the couch cushions from the startle.
Marcel has nothing to prove. He’s nobody’s hero. If he’s frightened, he wears it on his sleeve. Much like his display of all of his other emotions, he is not about keeping up appearances. Being so teeny can be scary, but that doesn’t prevent Marcel from exploring his interests, like canines.
Marcel makes his fair share of jokes with his iconic sense of humor. In this case, it’s at the playful expense of the filmmaker, and by the sound of it, they’re both pretty amused about the whole thing.
Marcel mentioned earlier in this short that he would like a nickname for himself and that a nickname isn’t something someone can make up for themself. Then, later, Marcel lets the interviewer know that he’s made one up for him, and this clever little shell pokes fun, implying a secret meaning behind calling him Windy.
There are a few moments when Marcel refers to a community of small creatures. He never really specifies whether they are shells as well, in shoes, or not. But in this funny moment there is a group of littles that he’s talking to about the unfathomable idea of eating an entire grape in one bite.
Marcel believes in the impossible. When something is too impractical for the average shell to even consider, there’s Marcel, counting on it. This quality can stir the hope of those around him, as well as the viewer. And he can spot the spectacular in the mundane.