Taika Waititi has been the voice of a philosophical rock man ("Thor: Ragnarok") and a murderous yet caring droid ("The Mandalorian"), and now he's voicing another endearing, quirky character. This time it’s Ralph, an ordinary rabbit with an ordinary job that he’s happy to do. Well, more like proud. Okay, resigned.
Ralph’s blind in his right eye, and one of his ears rings all the time, but that’s really no bother. Not really. And sure, he’s missing a patch of fur on his back, but what’s a little sacrifice? Because Ralph is a bunny test subject for cosmetics, strapped down and subjected to megadoses of caustic chemicals.
“Save Ralph” is a stop-motion animated short film for Humane Society International written and directed by Spencer Susser. Waititi plays the eponymous rabbit with the deadpan affect of a Thatcher-era British miner, unquestioning about the family business that’s killing him. His colleagues, voiced by Ricky Gervais, Zac Efron, Olivia Munn, Tricia Helfer and Pom Klementieff, are far more desperate to escape their fate, and their cries for help cement “Save Ralph”as a real-life horror flick.
If Ralph’s injuries seems graphic, they are far less so than images of animal testing, which is legal in most countries (including the United States) and—contrary to popular belief—doesn’t guarantee product safety. The infamous LD 50 test, which subjects a group animals to larger and larger amounts of a substance to find a dose that is lethal to 50% of them—is low in scientific rigor, but is still conducted regularly around the world.
Given the global reach of the problem, the film is available in five languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Vietnamese. HSI is focusing its current efforts on legislation in 15 countries and regions, including Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Southeast Asia and South Africa.