Review of the animated film WolfWalkers

Pros: Classic style of drawing almost never used today; touching plot and characters; emotional and multi-level story; great soundtrack Cons: Art style may not appeal to everyone WolfWalkers / The Legend of the Wolves

Genre cartoon, fantasy
Directed by Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart
The roles were voiced by Honor Knifsey (Robin Goodfelow); Eve Whitaker (Meb Og McTire); Sean Bean (Bill Goodfellow); Simon McBarney (Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell); Maria Doyle Kennedm (Mall McTire) and others.
Studies Cartoon Saloon, Melusine, Apple TV+
Release year 2020
Site IMDb

However, the merit in the birth of WolfWalkers belongs not only to the Cartoon Saloon studio and its founder Tomm Moore, an international team of animators from Ireland, Luxembourg, Great Britain, France and the USA worked on the cartoon. But most of the work was done at the Irish Cartoon Saloon and the Luxembourg Mélusine.

The first thing that distinguishes WolfWalkers from modern Hollywood cartoons is the use of classic hand-drawn animation, and in some places deliberately careless, even rough, with clearly visible auxiliary lines and extra strokes, chopped simple shapes, pure color fill, etc. Similarly, they drew cartoons and illustrated children’s books in the 50-70s. last century, almost no one does this today. It’s a pity.

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The use of precisely this kind of drawing is a hallmark of Tomm Moore’s work, and his previous Oscar-nominated feature films The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea were made in approximately the same style. Like Moore’s previous works, WolfWalkers / “The Legend of the Wolves” is dedicated to Ireland.

1650, the city of Kilkenny (this is where Moore himself lives and the Cartoon Saloon studio is located). Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell re-invaded Ireland with his iron-sided, strangled the anti-English uprising and began to impose his own laws in the conquered country. Cromwell gives the professional hunter Bill Goodfellow, who arrived with him from England, the order to exterminate all the wolves in the local forest so that the villagers can safely cut down trees and graze cattle. Goodfellow’s young, adventurous and completely naughty daughter, Robin, follows her father into the woods to help him hunt. There she meets a local girl, Meb Og McTire, a forest child who can transform into a wolf while she sleeps. She and her mother are wolfwalkers, dreamwolves, and their pack’s conflict with the townspeople of Kilkenny and Cromwell is clearly not going to end peacefully.

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Here it is worth understanding that even after 350 years in Ireland they hate Oliver Cromwell. He literally drowned the country in blood and trampled on the Irish dream of independence. Confederate Ireland, which arose after the anti-English uprising of 1641, lasted only 9 years. Its capital, by the way, was located just in Kilkenny, so the presence of Cromwell here is not at all accidental. However, the obvious patriotic message and an interesting historical background are far from all that is in this cartoon.

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In WolfWalkers, there was also a story of a touching friendship between children from warring camps who are completely different from each other. And to warn of the dangers of parental overprotection, because of which children are locked in a safe, but cramped cage that oppresses and traumatizes them (it seems that the topic of overprotection in general has become one of the main topics for cartoonists in the last few years). And for a kind of feminist statement. And for the anti-clerical message. And to reflect modern problems, in the form of confrontation between the world of people and wildlife. And even for reproaching the obedient majority who are ready to follow populist slogans and sell their freedom in exchange for illusory security guarantees. Moore really made a surprisingly multi-layered, very beautiful and very emotional film in which everyone will find something of their own.

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Special thanks to the authors for the great soundtrack and vocal compositions in the picture. Moore’s longtime partners, French composer Bruno Coulet and Irish folk group Kíla, worked on the music for the cartoon. Two songs of particular note are Kíla’s Howls the Wolf and AURORA’s special version of Running with the Wolves.

And although we still don’t know what Soul / “Soul” from Pixar Animation Studios came out, the premiere of which in some countries of the world (including Ukraine) and on the Disney + streaming service is scheduled for December 25, 2020, my personal sympathies in the choice cartoon of the year on the side of the Irish from Cartoon Saloon. Still, Hollywood animated films are released several times a year, and such soulful handmade European paintings are much rarer. Do not miss.

Conclusion:

An emotional and very beautiful cartoon that breaks the usual Hollywood standards.

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