Dead on Arrival is a film about a character named Blue. The world is comprised of memories and follows our character along a path of self-discovery and redemption. Blue’s earliest memory is that of discovering an object that makes him happy. Through the course of the opening moments of the film, Blue discovers the harsh reality of not quite hitting the mark with his abilities. With the missed mark, comes the self-doubt and negative self-thinking that manifests itself through a physical change in his character. This physical manifestation leads to the rejection of his newfound friend and follows him throughout the rest of the film.
In essence, Blue is defective and must escape the harsh realities of others’ judgments. Blue fights to gain the trust and approval of the others around him, only to lead to, what he views, as their destruction. After failing to cut out his defection and faced with the stigmatized view of having a defective body, Blue trudges forward and attempts to gain kinship throughout the following moments. Ultimately, he turns to seek medical assistance to cure himself. After this plan backfires, he accepts his defeat and gives up. Red appears in the story and tries to lift Blue to his feet. Blue, excited to feel the warmth and love that comes with a new relationship, follows Red.
Continuously struggling with himself, Blue accidentally commits the act he was always afraid of and harms Red. After giving what’s left of himself to Red. He strikes out at himself. The tears apart his physical body and is faced with his inner demon. Through this process, he learns that the approval one should seek after is their own. Finally, making amends with himself, the remainder of Blue’s life is left ambiguous to the audience.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Computer animation--Themes, motives; Computer animation--Technique; Animated films--Themes, motives; Animation (Cinematography); Depression, Mental--Drama; Identity (Psychology)--Drama; Self-acceptance--Drama
Film and Animation (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Film and Animation (CAD)
Mark J. Reisch
Benns, Paul, "Dead on Arrival" (2020). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus