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Western Animation / Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker

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In the Dream World, power and adventure belong to the Lucid Dreamers, while Night Terrors haunt the troubled and the helpless. A lucky few are watched over by mysterious guardians. The protectors of our shared unconscious lives are known as...Dream Walkers.

Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker is a 2014 animated short film from the rock supergroup/multimedia art project Angels & Airwaves, animated by a small independent crew lead by Sergio and Edgar Martins and written by the Martin Brothers, Tom DeLonge, and Ben Kull. Music, of course, is provided by the band themselves.

Jonas Anderson has not been having the best of times. He's part of some sleep study where those conducting it seem to care more about the results than his welfare, he's away from his girlfriend Sam, and worse of all, a horrifying abomination from within the depths of his dreams is following him into the waking world to the point where the boundaries between his dreams and realities are getting very thin. With the help of his Dream Walker, Jarabec, he just might be able to slay the beast and finally harness the Poet within.

To summarize, it's kind of like NiGHTS into Dreams… meets Persona meets the ridiculously active imagination of a guy who wrote two albums about the esoteric nature of love but used to yuk it up in blink-182. Important note: despite being written by someone who previously worked on Mission Hill and The Oblongs and the guy that sung about wanting to literally screw the pooch, Poet is definitely not an Animated Shock Comedy. The Poet short film is just one part of a multimedia franchise, including a three-issue comic book prequel.

If you're jonesing for similar band multimedia tie-in endeavors: compare to Fall Out Toy Worksnote  and Lovenote . Contrast to Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys note .

This work provides examples of:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: The bikes and the Night Terror are CGI.
  • All There in the Manual: Worldbuilding information that the short film neglects to mention or glosses over is found in the prequel comics, as well as on Tom DeLonge's Instagram.
    • More big information that was on Tom's Instagram but not in the short film itself: The entire conflict between Dream Walkers, deciding people's daily fates in the waking world from the Dream World. The short film itself only made it seem like the Dream Walker's main role was to defend people from Night Terrors.
    • Where Jonas' parents are at dead, having a brother in a coma, and his reasons for exploring lucid dreaming are only elaborated on in the prequel comics and the Poet Anderson ...Of Nightmares novel.
  • Always Night: The majority of the movie is this, in the real world and in Genesis. The only exception is the ending where Poet drives over the ocean with a particularly epic sunrise/eclipse/planetary alignment as the backdrop.
  • Animesque: Interviews with Tom show an anime look was what they were going for and classics like AKIRA were cited as influences.
    • What lead to Tom's decision to entrust the Martins Brothers with a greater amount of creative involvement, including script revisions? A mutual appreciation of early 90s' sports anime Aoki Densetsu Shoot!. Jonas has a resemblance to main Aoki character Toshihiko Tanaka.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: While Poet wasn't rated, it's hard to imagine the solitary Precision F-Strike dropped by Jonas being put in for any reason but the attitudes behind this trope. Besides Sam in her skivvies, there isn't anything truly objectionable about the short film.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Several times throughout the short film.
  • Continuity Nod: Some of the LCD wraparounds on buildings in Genesis ask "Do you believe in hallucinations?", a direct reference to the Angels and Airwaves single "Hallucinations" off of LOVE Part I.
  • Cool Bike: Appears to be a requisite for being a Dream Walker, also a recurring motif with Angels and Airwaves themselves as past and current members ride.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: For Jonas, in the waking world and as Poet, though he's definitely the protagonist.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: The rain shows up dramatically for the final battle, though it's hinted at early on with cloudy weather and drops on car doors.
  • Dream People: The coal shovelers on the train are the only characters who show up that aren't defined in some way as Dreamers.
  • Dream Land: The Dream World, natch, made up of all the dreams in the collective human subconscious.
  • Dream Walker: All dreams play out within the Dream World, which means that Dream Walkers can be involved with the affairs of other Dream Walkers. However, threats specific to one dreamer, such as Poet's Night Terror, can't be confronted by other Dream Walkers. The short film and the comics explain Dream Walkers as not just guardians of specific dreamers but as protectors of the whole Dream World.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Poet's teleportation power is a "dream within a dream transport", albeit one he can't control until later. For example Jonas' attempt to escape the Center for Sleep Science leads to him being confronted on a subway car by his Night Terror, which leads to him using his glowy eye power to teleport into a dirty, disheveled bathroom as Poet. The film cuts to Sam looking over him, showing that within that entire chain of events, he was sleeping the entire time.
  • Esoteric Motifs: The Freemason compass, used by Jarabec during the beginning of the film to guide Poet to him. The compass is also a general Angels and Airwaves symbol as a whole, used often in merch and plastered on a lot of Tom's stuff, including amps and guitars that he also uses when playing with blink-182. It's hardly done for the pure sake of Rule of Cool, though said rule definitely plays a role; Tom is actually a bonafide Freemason.
  • Eye-Obscuring Hat: In a few shots of Poet's face, for the most part it stays out.
  • Fanservice: One shot of Sam in bra and panties conveniently emphasizing her butt and that's all you get.
  • Glowing Eyes: Whenever Poet's powers activate, by his own will or otherwise.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The CGI Vanity Plate before the film starts features a cartoony version of Tom chasing after a light with the camera to the back of him. Sounds par for the course up until the end where he reaches a cliff, the camera turns around and what the hell, Tom?! He has eyeless sockets, but when he leaps up with the moon at his back, ''you can see the moon straight through them".
    • A preview of the model used in the plate animation shown without context and the initial concept sketch, both shown on his Instagram indicate that he wanted it to intentionally look alien and eerie.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Giant unspeakable monsters coming at you in your dreams to the point where your perception of reality is getting skewed? Not a problem, you're a lucid dreamer who can manifest guns and a combat brolly.
  • Nightmare Sequence: The sequence with Jonas confronting his Night Terror in the subway, then teleporting as Poet into a dirty bathroom.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Bright white blue eyes are tied in directly to Poet's powers.
  • Parasol of Pain: Poet's weapon of choice
  • Product Placement: Sam's shoes are from MacBeth, Tom's shoewear line.
  • Scenery Porn: In any given shot. most obvious with longer shots of Genesis and Poet riding on the water at the end.
  • Skyscraper City: Genesis, where most of the Dream World action takes place.
  • Vanity Plate: Of the front and back variety: The CGI animated plate that indicates it's a Tom DeLonge joint at the start and at the end, the rocket blast off plate for To the Stars, Inc, the banner for AVA's multimedia endeavors.
  • The Voice: Eden Base, talking to the mysterious guy on the bike.