WOLFWALKERS invites you to step back in time and become free, and wild
The fourth film to come from animation house Cartoon Saloon, Wolfwalkers invites you to step back in time and become free, and wild.
Co-directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart, the pair navigate the film with ease. Through careful use of colour and setting, we flow through the story as if reading a storybook. At times comic book style panels are used which add to this, and help thread together the various plot points and character arcs.
The pair handles the various subjects with no difficulty, and in particular their direction of the film's villain feels like it’s come straight out of the classic animations of your childhood. Thanks to the mixing animation styles and tones, we’re met with oppressive greys within the castle, flowing and overpowering nature in the forest, and abstract sequences to embody the mystical elements of the wolfwalker’s magic. Not once are we given a second to fall out of the story, and instead, we’re grabbed by the hand to follow along the scent trails.
Robyn, daughter of a wolf hunter, wants to prove she too can protect their new home from the local wolves. When she sneaks out past the town gates and is attacked by the wolves, she meets Mebh – member of a mysterious tribe who shows her the magic the forest truly has to offer.
The story is just lovely. Robyn’s relationship with both her father and Mebh drive the story along, with all the right elements of peril and a dash of magic. Building to a charged and moving third act, it feels both nostalgic and brand new. At its core, it’s about learning to have patience, accepting each other’s differences, keeping our promises and finding our own pack.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
The voice acting brings life and charm to our 2D protagonists. Honor Kneafsey and Eva Whittaker voice Robyn and Mebh respectively. Whittaker in particular embodies Mebh with a wild rage that feels both mature and toddler like. Hearing her pleas to her mammy are heart-breaking. Likewise, charged scenes between Kneafsey and Sean Bean who voices her father will leave a lump in your throat. Bean manages to capture the essence of a terrified and protective father who at times can be too stubborn to listen.
The whole cast of characters and voices are wonderful, and I must mention poor Seán Óg who ends up in the stocks for the majority of the film – a small extra detail that adds to the film's undeniable charm.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
The animation in Wolfwalkers is so beautiful I found myself moved to tears. Drawn in a storybook style, the edges are rough and sketch-like, but even this element adds to the beauty by making every line feel wild and alive.
The climactic third act has some of the most stunning animation I’ve seen and manages to encompass the heart of both the characters, along with the Celtic lore at the core of the film. I cannot express in words just how gorgeous this film is.
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
As with the animation, the filmmakers have taken inspiration from the celtic setting and imbued the film with old fashioned and poignant songs, with a dash of modernity. ‘Running with the Wolves’ by Aurora accompanies one of the many beautiful sequences in the film, and the mystical vibes will have you longing to be in a magical forest with these young girls and their wolf pack.
After watching Wolfwalkers, it quickly found itself in my best of the year list. It was an utter joy to watch that had me grinning, gasping and as mentioned, shedding a tear. I cannot wait to see it again and I hope audiences find the love and wonder in this beautiful animation that I did.
WOLFWALKERS Arrives December 11th, 2020 on APPLE TV+