Netflix Offers Early Look at DreamWorks Film Orion and the Dark

During the recent Geeked Week event, Netflix unveiled an exciting sneak peek into the world of DreamWorks Animation’s latest project, “Orion and the Dark.” Adapted from Emma Yarlett’s beloved book, this forthcoming animated feature promises a captivating journey into the imaginative realm of a young protagonist named Orion. The narrative revolves around Orion, a typical elementary school student on the surface, yet harboring a profound secret: a plethora of fears that engulf his daily existence. From the common phobias of bees and dogs to more abstract anxieties like the ocean and cell phone waves, Orion finds himself paralyzed by a multitude of irrational dread, with his greatest terror being the enveloping darkness of night.

The heart of the story unfolds when Orion is confronted by the embodiment of his deepest fear—the Dark itself. However, instead of succumbing to its ominous presence, Orion embarks on an extraordinary adventure that challenges his perceptions and reshapes his understanding of fear. Alongside the Dark, Orion traverses the globe, encountering a myriad of experiences that force him to confront the unknown and embrace the joy of living.

The film’s creative vision is brought to life by director Sean Charmatz, known for his inventive storytelling, while the screenplay is penned by the renowned Charlie Kaufman, adding layers of depth and complexity to the narrative. Behind the scenes, the production is helmed by Peter McCown, with Walt Dohrn and Bonnie Arnold serving as executive producers, ensuring a seamless blend of creativity and craftsmanship.

What sets “Orion and the Dark” apart from traditional DreamWorks Animation fare is its daring exploration of themes typically considered too mature for younger audiences. The inclusion of the Grim Reaper and direct engagement with the concept of death injects the narrative with a sense of poignancy and introspection rarely seen in mainstream animation. Additionally, the filmmakers have consciously embraced a more indie aesthetic, eschewing the polished veneer of typical CGI animation in favor of a raw, handcrafted look that adds a layer of authenticity to the storytelling.

Production designer Tim Lamb and art director Christine Bian have painstakingly crafted a visual style that pays homage to classic pen and ink illustrations, infusing the film with a timeless quality that resonates with audiences of all ages. By embracing their creative limitations and celebrating the imperfections inherent in the artistic process, the team behind “Orion and the Dark” has succeeded in creating a visually distinct and emotionally resonant cinematic experience.

While an official premiere date for “Orion and the Dark” has yet to be announced, anticipation is already running high for its arrival on Netflix in 2024. With its thought-provoking themes, stunning visuals, and talented creative team, this animated gem promises to captivate audiences and spark meaningful conversations about the nature of fear, courage, and the power of imagination.

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