6/10 The final film I saw that was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the most recent Academy Awards, “Wolfwalkers” falls into the middle of the pack and although its European style is a breath of fresh air, like “Over the Moon”, it is too heavily influenced by a couple of Disney films to really stand out on its own. The film has 2D animation like the Disney films leading up to and throughout the 1990s. It has been a long time since I’ve seen an animated film in theaters to use this animation style and it provides mixed results. On one hand, it feels original to throwback to this style of animation (which my guess would be that it was necessary due to budget constraints) and the moments in the film that follow the humans transferring to the wolves and the wolves point of view look incredible. On the other hand, 2D animation just doesn’t look nearly as good as 3D animation and when there is a wide shot, the foreground will have detailed 2D animation but the background is extremely bare bones and just penciled in. This is done intentionally but it looked like they ran out of money for the background in the budget. The voice cast is perfect with our two female protagonists, (Honor Kneafsey and Eva Whittaker), who I had never previously heard of, having stolen the film from the equally as well cast but much more famous other actors in the film (Sean Bean, Simon McBurney, etc.). The score and soundtrack perfectly suit the story of this young girl and her father going to Ireland to hunt down a wolf pack and the truth they learn about the wolf pack (wolfwalkers) along the way. One song in particular, “Running with the Wolves” was the best song in the film and was better than some of the songs up for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards. The pacing works and this is an enjoyable film with some good lessons for the kids. The biggest problem is how heavily it takes from other films, namely “Beauty and the Beast”. Like that film, humans are in other entities (cupboards, tea pots, etc. in “Beauty and the Beast”, wolves in this film), the village people are scared of our protagonists and fear what they will do and one main bad guy stirs that fear and wants to destroy/burn down the area where our protagonists live (Gaston / Lord Protector). The ending even has shades of “The Lion King” involving fire and water but I won’t get into specific spoilers. The voice cast and setting from overseas is welcomed but doesn’t mask the obvious Disney influence, the biggest example of which, like two other animated films up for Best Animated Feature, involves the protagonists having dead parents. “Onward”, “Over the Moon” and now “Wolfwalkers” have characters with dead parents but this film doubles it up as one girl has no mom and the other has no dad (this convenient pairing goes exactly where you predict it will go at the end of the film). A fine enough film (although I’m not sure how today’s kids will fair with 2D when they are used to 3D animation and how amazing Pixar films look), “Wolfwalkers” is worth wolfwalking, not wolfrunning over to go check out.

#HungryLikeTheWolfwalkers / #StarringWolfBlitzer / #WolfwalkerIrishRanger / #TheGirlWhoCriedWolfwalker / #AWolfwalkerInSheepsClothing / #Goodfellowes

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