Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: A young apprentice hunter and her father journey to Ireland to help wipe out the last wolf pack. But everything changes when she befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe rumoured to transform into a wolf by night.
Review: The final movie in their Irish folklore trilogy of films by Cartoon Studios, the beautiful minds behind The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, Wolfwalkers has to be hailed as one of the best animated features ever made.
There’s so much to adore and appreciate here, but let’s start with the most obvious when it comes to this type of film, the animation. Beautifully hand drawn, Wolfwalkers looks like a storybook come to life. Most animated films push hard to match their CGI counterparts, but Wolfwalkers never tries to fit a mould. Instead, its style speaks to the love of storytelling that can be found in works of art.
There’s line work here that may look rough to some, but to me it spoke of an artist who wants you to stop and admire every frame that unfolds. There wasn’t a scene here that felt flat or lifeless to me, and I could easily see myself printing any one of these gorgeous moments out and framing them for my wall.
The visuals also blend beautifully with the story, which is set squarely in Irish folklore and tells the tale of a young girl named Robyn (Honor Kneafsey) who wants to prove herself every bit a great hunter like her father Bill (Sean Bean from The Lord of the Rings aka the most killed man in Hollywood). Robyn sneaks away to the woods one night to kill herself a wolf, only to come across Mebh (Eva Whittaker), a feisty and sweetly ferocious wolfwalker (someone who takes the form of a wolf while they sleep). Mebh and her mother are the protector of their pack and the forest they live in, but find themselves in imminent danger from the Lord Protector of the town (Simon McBurney), a religious zealot who believes it is his God-given right to tame the wild woods and, if he can’t, to destroy it.
The most memorable animated movies out there are the ones that both parents and children alike can thoroughly enjoy, and Wolfwalker more than fits into that category and joins the likes of Coco, Toy Story and Kubo and the Two Strings (a favourite of mine). The voice cast is perfect, with each actor doing a stellar job of bringing life to their animated counterparts. And the score is a beautiful blend of Irish folksongs with a modern twist.
I’m sure there are those who will compare this to the works of Studio Ghibli and perhaps feel it doesn’t warrant that much praise. The truth is, all of our legends and myths tend to intertwine, and the core message of respecting nature, the dangers of man’s unending “colonisation”, the need to take more than you need, and the importance of finding one’s “pack”, are lessons that span continents. Wolfwalkers does a beautiful job of touching on these subjects and I know, after just one viewing, this is one of those animated films that I’ll find myself coming back to, time and time again.
Sommer’s Score: 8.5 out of 10
For RMR Editor Jules’ review of Coco you can click here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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