Wolfwalkers is the newest animated feature by the Oscar-nominated animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, which is the creators of such mesmerizing films The Secret of Kells, and Song of the Sea. As the last installment of the “Irish folk trilogy”, Wolfwalkers is a magical tale of unlikely friendship between two girls in 17th-century Ireland.
In a 17th century Irish village called Kilkenny, a young girl named Robyn (Honor Kneafsey) has just moved to the village alongside her father (Sean Bean) who has been brought to the village to kill the wolves that lurk outside the village in the forest by the Lord Protector (Simon McBurney). Wanting to help her father, Robyn sneaks out of the village and encounters another young girl named Mebh (Eva Whittaker) who accidentally bites Robyn trying to free her from a snare trap. Mebh lives with the wolves alongside her mother and is known as a wolfwalker which is a human whose spirit can transform into a wolf while asleep.
The story is one of the best stories for an animated fantasy film I’ve ever seen. It’s a film drenched in lore that could have backstories within itself and one where that feels so unique and original. We’ve seen many stories where soldiers have tried to fight against nature and this is easily one of the best I’ve seen. Not only that, but this is also a film that is not afraid to get dark. There are scenes in this film where you’re surprised and shocked and all the moments don’t come off feeling unpleasant or disturbing since the film has plenty of light-hearted elements to keep it afloat.
The pencil lines on the characters were really a highlight along their simplistic designs working well off the somewhat complex backgrounds. The animation of Robyn and Mebh’s hair was especially so pleasant to watch as well. Though what really stole the show was how experimental the animation got. As far as the characters go, every single one of them works. Robyn is such a compelling protagonist and the way her character grows was absolutely perfect. Mebh was probably my favorite. Her playful attitude yet rough and tender side made her a very strong character and I found her chemistry between Robyn so splendid. This is a great example of how to write friendship in an animated movie. Even Robyn’s father and the Lord Protector are brilliantly written with the father wanting to do what’s best for her daughter and the kingdom while the Lord Protector’s evil being bent on God was compelling and rich.
With a profound plot, a compelling emotional core, and visually arresting animation, Wolfwalkers offers audiences an action-packed odyssey that serves as engaging and entrancing entertainment for all.