Review – Wolfwalkers – Taking Animation To The Next Level

WOLFWALKERS came as a very nice surprise, and a movie that I not only watched a second time, but would highly recommend. I was left so interested in the film, I learned that it’s the final entry of a trilogy grown from Celtic folklore (the previous two being the highly acclaimed SONG OF THE SEA and THE SECRET OF KELLS). Each entry is a standalone vision of the same director, Tomm Moore, and I would now like to see the other two.

Animated films require an acknowledgement that artistic styles exist in abundance. People can be turned-off by a look that isn’t appealing to them, and animated films still suffer the misperception of being exclusively for children. I used to be a little like that, but found that if the storytelling speaks to me, it just doesn’t matter how it looks. One must also remember that the style was chosen for a reason, and this movie is a prime showcase.

My first thought was how much of it appears like old Pictish symbols, of which it probably drew some inspiration, given the locale of its setting. Ultimately, the art style was a wonderfully unique compliment to the story.

It’s learned early on that a WolfWalker is a person that inhabits a wolf during their sleep. This is the story of a WolfWalker’s pack, as they are forcefully driven from their forest home during the British occupation of Ireland.

There are scenes shown through a wolf’s eye view, distant sounds and footfalls resonate through their precision senses, and I wondered if that’s how a wolf might experience our world. Action involving wolves, and children, is often kept at a ground level. Adults and surroundings are even more intimidating with such perspective.

Mankind’s affect on nature is shown, and as it often is, devastation is the result. Weapons are utilised out of fear and rage. It never ends well, but does it ever? Vibrant, menacing flames, will engulf the screen more than once. There is subtle political commentary some might read into, it isn’t integral in this story, but runs alongside a portrayal of delusion amongst the leadership, as they carry out a hellbent mission to rid the land of wolves. There were several hundred years of occupation, of which the WolfWalkers themselves could be viewed as symbolic, and representative of an oppressed culture.

The soundtrack was yet another layer that took me by surprise, as I found myself adding its theme to a playlist for later listening. It was intelligently well-written, with moments that strayed from predictable places, becoming clever and imaginative.

It’s such a beautiful movie that I’m hesitant to look at with any scrutiny, yet I did feel that characters were given quick introductions, and being such an engrossing experience, I wished there had been more backstory in hindsight. Those with historical yearnings will be especially pleased by WOLFWALKERS.

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies

WOLFWALKERS is now streaming on Get Reel Movies’ preferred streaming service Apple TV+.

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