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As a part of TIFF, I watched Wolfwalkers, the new film from Tomm Moore (The Secret of KellsSong of the Sea) and Ross Stewart. I know that many people here are great fans of Moore and I'm happy to say that Wolfwalkers is another wonderful film from the Irish animator. Interestingly, Wolfwalkers seems to take a lot of structural cues from The Secret of Kells. It's set during the 17th century and deals with the Cromwellian Conquest of Ireland, with the main character being the daughter of a wolf hunter brought over from England. As is expected now, the animation is stunning. The way that he flattens perspectives and uses borders and framing is fascinating.

I'll likely write a review at 3 Brothers Film, but thought I'd shout it out here.

Here's the trailer: 

 

"Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film." - Werner Herzog

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Glad someone else here watched this. I managed to watch it twice in the 12 hour window (which I did with Nomadland, as well). 

Loved this one as much as their previous work. Particularly loved the contrast between the rigid geometry of the town of the well-outlined town and its inhabitants vs the curves and messiness of the wilderness. That was something they didn't quite tease out in Kells and I really loved it here.

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32 minutes ago, Scholar's Parrot said:

Loved this one as much as their previous work. Particularly loved the contrast between the rigid geometry of the town of the well-outlined town and its inhabitants vs the curves and messiness of the wilderness. That was something they didn't quite tease out in Kells and I really loved it here.

Yes, the way that the themes of the film are expressed in the animation is wonderful. The way that the animation in the forest shows traces of pencil lines is such a nice touch. 

I think such an expressive contrast is only absent in The Secret of Kells because that film was famously low budget for such a complex animated work. Formally, Cartoon Saloon keeps getting better and better.

"Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film." - Werner Herzog

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44 minutes ago, Aren Bergstrom said:

Yes, the way that the themes of the film are expressed in the animation is wonderful. The way that the animation in the forest shows traces of pencil lines is such a nice touch. 

I think such an expressive contrast is only absent in The Secret of Kells because that film was famously low budget for such a complex animated work. Formally, Cartoon Saloon keeps getting better and better.

Absolutely re: pencil lines. I recall an elk/hart showing up right at the beginning and noticing that and eagerly messaging an animator friend of mine. 

Oh, and I certainly didn’t mean that as a criticism of Kells. Budget aside, I found it appropriate to be consistent given that it’s pulling from the style of the Book itself. I’ve used Kells when I’ve run a film series that coincides with an intro course at the theological school where I’m an admin. It so perfectly captures the dynamic of that period and illustrates one of the lectures perfectly. 

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On 9/14/2020 at 5:24 PM, Scholar's Parrot said:

Oh, and I certainly didn’t mean that as a criticism of Kells. Budget aside, I found it appropriate to be consistent given that it’s pulling from the style of the Book itself.

Yeah, definitely. I didn't mean it as criticism either, just pointing it out. I'm still amazed they were able to accomplish what they did with such a limited budget.

Here's my review of Wolfwalkers if it's of interest to anyone: https://3brothersfilm.com/blog/2020/9/17/tiff20-wolfwalkers

"Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film." - Werner Herzog

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  • 3 months later...

Not typical response for me, but the anti-Christian tropes bothered me more in this than in most films. I understand the historical context, but I grow weary at times of the easy stereotype of religiously motivated villains.

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12 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Not typical response for me, but the anti-Christian tropes bothered me more in this than in most films. I understand the historical context, but I grow weary at times of the easy stereotype of religiously motivated villains.

I get a similar response in most films as most films approach it in a lazy way, but the historical context is so specific in Wolfwalkers that I didn't see it as leaning on stereotypes or lazy tropes in any way. Oliver Cromwell really did invade Ireland and put it to the sword, and so much of his motivation was religious, so not sure how his outright villainy in the film is working into this trope.

"Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film." - Werner Herzog

3brothersfilm.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally got to see Wolfwalkers, and it is another visually delightful addition to the work of this group of animators/creators. I think Ken and Aren both raise good points about the presentation of religion in the movie--Cromwell (here called only "the Lord Protector," a name that becomes more ironic as the story proceeds) was a famously dour and destructive historical figure, but as a character, he also fits easily into expected stereotypes, especially as there are no counter Christians. All the villagers are terrified of the woods/nature/wolves, except Robyn and her father. A certain action (not describing it because of spoilers) by the Lord Protector could also be considered hypocritical. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful movie and should become a classic.

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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