Wolfwalkers: The BRWC LFF Review – Cartoon Saloon are on an incredible run. Following on from the success of The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea and The Breadwinner, the animation studio’s new film is an absolute work of art; a visually mesmerising picture with a very big heart.
Wolfwalkers tells the story of Robyn, an adventurous young girl who dreams of following in her father’s footsteps and hunting nearby wolves, until she befriends Mebh, a girl from the forest with a unique gift that changes everything.
This is exactly the sort of film that we need more of yet hardly ever see anymore. While children are so often treated to dumb, soulless releases like The Emoji Movie and Sing, here is a film that actually respects them; a charming fable with strong female characters and positive, life-affirming messages about embracing one’s true self, brought to life with classic hand-drawn animation. Its mere existence is miraculous, and its brilliance cannot be overstated.
The film’s visuals are constantly imaginative and drenched in colour and warmth. Combined with stellar voice-work from Honor Kneafsey, Eva Whittaker, Sean Bean and Simon McBurney, all oozing with life and character, and a truly magical score from Bruno Coulais, this is a story filled with myth, magic and wonder, made with love and care by a group of very talented artists.
While mostly light-hearted and breezy for the first half, the narrative becomes something else entirely as it develops, bravely raising the stakes and maturely owning its more contemporary themes of otherness and environmental ignorance. It’s truly ambitious, both emotional and suspenseful right to its conclusion, but it isn’t a film that tries too hard or cheaply pulls at the heartstrings; rather, the characters are so effectively well-drawn that we really grow to care for them.
Wolfwolkers is just magnificent; a meaningful tale of how we fear that which we do not fully understand, told from the perspective of a strong friendship that is simply joyous to observe. It’s visually mesmering, creatively animated and beautifully told; a truly rewarding experience for audiences of all ages, and the year’s finest animation.
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