Spermageddon – Annecy 2024

Spermageddon is one of the funniest–if not shocking–animated films ever made and does for a certain body area what Inside Out did for the mind.

I’m a bit late to watching the film because of both another film festival, Jewish holiday, and laptop issues. That being said, it’s well worth the wait because I couldn’t stop laughing. After a number of English-language films, co-director Tommy Wirkola goes back to his native Norwegian tongue–he co-directs with Rasmus A. Sivertsen–to bring us this hysterical musical comedy. Given attitudes and such in the US, it’s no surprise that Wirkola and company were unable to set up the film with a US studio. The film may have better luck drawing crowds at film festivals, especially as word of mouth spreads. Spermageddon may be animated but it is definitely not a film for young children. It might play better for older teens than younger teens but parents will have some explaining to do with their children.

I’ll dive into the film shortly but here’s the synopsis just so you get the idea:

This is a movie about the beginning of life! A tale so basic and universal, it’s a wonder no one has told it before. We’re talking about the race, the origin of all races as it were, between millions of sperm cells, all frantically trying to fertilize a single egg. It’s a quest fraught with peril, where all but one are doomed to failure.

The film runs a brisk 80 minutes. There’s a universe where this musical becomes required teaching for health and sex-ed classes. Alas, good luck finding a community with parents on board for such a film. Still, there is an audience for this film and they will certainly get their share of laughs out of it! If you have an interest in crude, coarse, immature, or embarrassing humor, this film is for you! It is probably unlikely that they will redub in English but it’s still just as funny in its original tongue. Character names feature no shortage of puns, including sperm cells named Simen (Aksel Hennie), Cumilla (Mathilde Storm), and Jizzmo (Christian Rubeck). They belong to a teenage nerd, Jens (Christian Mikkelsen), who couldn’t care less about sex but would rather prefer Star Wars and the like.

Lisa and Jens in Spermageddon.
Lisa and Jens in Spermageddon. Courtesy of Qvisten Animation.

When the film isn’t focusing on what’s happening inside the body, we’re seeing Jens living in the real world. While playing Spin the Bottle during a cabin trip, Jens ends up making out with Lisa (Nasrin Khusrawi). One thing leads to another and the mission becomes a go for his sperm. As for Simen and Cumilla, they are way behind the curve, ending up in places where sperm should not end up. But back to the real world, things do get clumsy and yes, even Wasps are involved.

There’s no illusion here about sperm and their destiny. They know that their life will come to an end if they don’t reach their destination: the egg. The genius of it all is how the film incorporates everything. There’s a control tower similar to that of Inside Out. Sperm go to school–where Prof. Saltsmak (Bjørn Sundquist) teaches–and watch PSAs. They all have one goal: ejaculation and fertilization. One sperm cell, Jizzmo, will do whatever it takes, even donning a Iron Man-esque suit if it means beating everyone else to the punch. The suit is both anti-condom and anti-spermicide. In short, Jizzmo has it out for anything that could kill a sperm cell once it leaves the balls. Lisa isn’t ready to be pregnant and takes no chances. But as for the sperm, they are no different than anyone else when it comes to power control, jealousy, cheating, etc.

It would be so funny if some of the catchy tunes like “In the Ballsack” somehow get an Oscar nomination. People would just lose their minds! I mean, did you ever think you’d see the day where a Golden Age-esque musical number would be set in the balls or condom?!? An e.Coli bacteria singing about crap?!? Both Arthur Freed and Busby Berkeley would be rolling over in their graves! Though in fairness, a good portion of America would probably not even be on board with the film, given their attitudes against abortion rights.

Anyway, you know you’re watching a film about nerds when there are references to both The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. Which is the proper viewing order for Star Wars? I’m sorry to say that this is where the film leaves audiences hanging.

Spermageddon has a Pixar-esque feel to it–despite the content at hand–but this coming-of-age musical comedy is the epic adventure that we didn’t know we needed.

DIRECTORS: Rasmus A. Sivertsen & Tommy Wirkola
SCREENWRITERS: Vegar Hoel, Jesper Sundnes, Tommy Wirkola
CAST: Nasrin Khusrawi, Christian Mikkelsen, Aksel Hennie, Mathilde Storm, Christian Rubeck, and Bjørn Sundquist

Spermageddon held its world premiere during the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in the Midnight Specials program. Grade: 4/5

Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Buttondown.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

You Missed

Eyes Wide Shut: Final Stanley Kubrick Film Marks 25th Anniversary

Eyes Wide Shut: Final Stanley Kubrick Film Marks 25th Anniversary

Olympics: NBC Sports to Use Canon Lenses for Paris 2024

Olympics: NBC Sports to Use Canon Lenses for Paris 2024

Angels in the Outfield Marks 30th Anniversary

Angels in the Outfield Marks 30th Anniversary

Remembering Gene Wilder is on Blu-ray, DVD

Remembering Gene Wilder is on Blu-ray, DVD

Brittani Ward talks Single Car Crashes, Premiering in Chicago

Brittani Ward talks Single Car Crashes, Premiering in Chicago

Nicole Riegel talks Dandelion, Working with the Dessner Brothers

Nicole Riegel talks Dandelion, Working with the Dessner Brothers