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Critics Review
Sweet Tooth on Netflix: Watch for a pure, earnest, folk fairytale vibe

The epic, emotional, heartfelt journey is a must-stream for this summer. Read on for the full review!

3.0
Audita Bhattacharya
Jun 07, 2021
 
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Did Mr. Tumnus from Narnia tug at your heartstrings when he became friends with little Lucy and eventually died (sorry, spoiler alert)? Netflix has made another heart-warming baby deer for your streaming screens! Sweet Tooth makes the end of the world seem a little cozier. The pleasant family-friendly surprise from Netflix is the story of a boy named Gus who is half-human, half deer as he searches for a new beginning with a gruff protector, on a perilous adventure, in a post-apocalyptic world. If those weren’t enough adjectives for you to start streaming the show already, maybe the fact that the series is based on the DC Vertigo comic by Jeff Lemire and produced by Robert Downey Jr aka Iron Man, could offer some encouragement.

The creative team also worked with climate change consultants to help craft the world of Sweet Tooth realistically, just in case looking around themselves wasn't enough. Jokes aside, James Brolin narrates the series following this nine-year-old boy with antlers, the first of a new breed of human/animal hybrid that appeared after an apocalyptic pandemic of an unknown virus. Also termed as The Great Crumble, this virus left those infected with a telltale symptom: A shaky left pinkie. Surprisingly though, the series was filmed in 2019, much before COVID-19 or face masks became part of our daily lives.

One of the first observers of this virus is Dr. Aditya Singh (Adeel Akhtar), when his wife Rani (Aliza Vellani) comes down with it, life as he knew it was already going to hell. He busts through barricades and personnel in hazmat suits to get Rani to the hospital. Not to get too ahead of myself but seems like another attempt to make oriental cultures the harbingers of bad news. Anyway, lo and behold hybrid babies. Will Forte decides to raise Christian Convery as Gus, his son away from the world. Their closeness has only one rule, don’t go beyond the fence. However, one day a poacher marks the territory and thus begins the journey of Gus.

As the series goes on and both the characters and the story progress towards finding Gus a safe haven, the viewer feels a pang of familiarity. A feeling that a lot of us are a little too familiar with. A tiny boy against the vast universe. Cinematographers Aaron Morton Dave and Garbett John Cavill do a fantastic job capturing the wilderness of Newzealand. As Gus tries to set out to find his mother and the poachers try to catch him, the viewer sees the sense of relatability return. Fighting against forces that don't understand him, Gus is saved by Tommy Jepperd (Nonso Anozie) a former pro football player who advises Gus to stay put and not attract any more poachers. But Gus, determined to find his mother, follows the “Big Man” (Jepperd calls Gus “Sweet Tooth”) outside the park, much to the Big Man’s chagrin.

The episodes are punctuated with lightly funny moments that skewer the self-seriousness a show like this can fall into. The scenes where we see Gus’ eyes glow in the dark are especially creepy and chuckle-worthy. Watch for a pure, earnest, folk fairytale vibe in this show even though it is not just for little kids. Michael Berenbaum and Shawn Paper's editing will make you shift scenes seamlessly. In the end, we all do hope that Gus does for antlers what Ariana Grande did for cat ears. The epic, emotional, heartfelt journey is a must-stream for this summer.

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