Studio: Apple TV+
Wolfwalkers is a tale that keeps on giving
Any animation studio can pull up a good stunt on storytelling like Pixar or Sony Pictures Animation, with the latter that produced Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse which won Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2018. Under the big animation flicks and tricks Disney have produced throughout the years, it's hard to remember if there are any other studios making animated films just as great or even better for kids and adults to indulge. For this one, it’s from the television-streaming division from Apple. The film is directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart and features the voice cast of Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whittaker, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Simon McBurney, and Sean Bean.
Wolfwalkers tells a story about a young girl named Robyn, living in Ireland in 1650, who wants to become a hunter like her father Bill Goodfellowe whose main job is to clear the wolf pack in the village to prevent the wolves from endangering the village and its people. However, her desire has turned to fear when she meets a free-spirited girl from the wolf tribe who can transform into a wolf in a magical shapeshift called a “wolfwalker.”
Famed The Lord of the Rings alumnus Sean Bean voices Hunter Bill Goodfellowe in the film while Honor Kneafsey plays into the picture as Bill’s daughter Robyn. Actress Eva Whittaker voices Mebh, a free-spirited girl Robyn meets who can magically transform into a wolf under of what the powerful spell is called a “wolfwalker.” while Maria Doyle Kennedy voices Mebh’s mother who not only leads the wolf pack but is also a wolfwalker as well.
The direction being taken from Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart explores deep into the wilds of those characters that have been given a time setting in the 1650s which lies in the Early Modern period era. The director and producers put every inch of the story that builds some accuracies compared to the war periods and the war films as a whole (like Grave of the Fireflies for example). Building up the blocks on the strong storytelling idea, the directors’ story and the characters are absolutely fascinating and touching. It brings the cultural themes of friendship, loyalty, trust, and family that will truly resonate with people of all ages. Even the music from Bruno Coulais and Kíla that brings the glory and emotion to add to that effect.
The entire hand-drawn animation coming from Cartoon Saloon, which also serves as the co-producer for this film, is some of the most beautiful courses anybody has seen. Every frame or scene in the film has several of these intricate, meticulous details that make their films a unique visual delight to behold and to grasp on their hands. This film also contains numerous cinematic shots and sequences that push the boundaries of what can be done in the medium when it comes to films, both live-action and animation.
Overall, Wolfwalkers is an excellent film, on par with their other brilliant feature length animated films The Breadwinner, Song of the Sea, or any other non Disney-Pixar films you named. Maybe Grave of the Fireflies if you're a strong, wary animation buff. The cast and the crew of animators did an amazing job to tackle every scene with glee and emotion. It clocks about 102 minutes. This film can easily become the Oscar and Golden Globe contender for that attitude. I would strongly recommend anyone give this film a watch. It’s like Isle of Dogs but with wolves being used instead of dogs.
(Review by Henry Pham)
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