To maximize your enjoyment of the film being discussed, we suggest watching before reading . . .
To promote a U.K. fundraising event for Stand up to Cancer, animation company Nexus productions has created an end-of-the-world, animated thriller with a twist. The two-minute short, “It’s Payback Time for Cancer,” which will air next month on the U.K.’s Channel 4, features a futuristic world populated by bean-like creatures.
In the spot, from Nexus directors Adam Foulkes and Alan Smith, this seemingly peaceable world is assaulted from all directions by a mysterious blue substance. The little beans are terrified as one by one, in classic action movie style, they get mowed down by a mysterious threat from another world. Only in the final seconds do we realize that this blue goo is a cancer-fighting force for good. All along, the beans were the cells we wanted to eradicate. It’s a strange choice to make a deadly disease the seeming protagonist in your planet-in-peril film. It works to upend our viewing expectations, and in breaking the mold, what could have been just another cancer PSA actually sticks in your head.