Movie Review: Wolfwalkers

A while ago, I’d heard good things about Wolfwalkers, an animated movie on Apple TV+. I filed that away, since at the time we had plenty of other things to watch. When I got my new iPad, it came with a year’s subscription to Apple TV+. Thus far, I’d only used it to watch the Tom Hanks battleship movie (Greyhound), so I was excited to be able to put the freebie toward another something in the future.

We watched Wolfwalkers as a family a few nights ago, and we really enjoyed it. It’s a story set in Ireland, about a city that’s plagued with an infestation of wolves outside its walls. The people are scared, and they’re doing their best to kill all the wolves, but they’re failing. It turns out the wolves are being led by a Wolf Walker–a woman who’s a wolf when she sleeps and a human when she’s awake. Except she’s disappeared, and her ten year old daughter is running things in her absence.

I won’t give away more than that. The story echoed Brave in many ways, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, it had a few things that really impressed me. First off, it’s a gorgeous movie, with a hand drawn animation flair that draws attention to the sketch quality of the art. The style was fantastic throughout, and I really enjoyed just looking at how beautiful it all was. The music was also a standout. The story itself was good. Though it dipped into predictable waters at times, it also had some solid developments.

Honestly, one of the things I liked most about it was that it wasn’t done by Disney or Pixar. We watched Soul a while ago as well. I really loved the movie, but at the same time, it feels like Pixar has got its formula down and really just keeps spinning off variations of the same. Of course, if you like chocolate ice cream, and someone makes your favorite chocolate ice cream, it seems kind of petty to complain that they keep making it, but what if there’s a flavor out there that you don’t even know you love yet? If all you do is keep eating the same chocolate ice cream, you’ll never find it. And worse yet, too much chocolate ice cream can make that lovely deliciousness get kind of boring. Variety is a good thing. Soul was very much more chocolate ice cream. Wolfwalkers . . . was more like rocky road. In many ways it could have been another Pixar movie. It’s definitely working in the same basic flavor. But it had enough significant differences to make it a new experience.

I feel like there’s so much room in animation, but these days the films seem to be dominated by the Pixar or the Dreamworks approaches. You’ve either got heartwarming movies with a Message, or farting ogres and neurotic squirrels. True, you’ve got princess movies thrown into the mix, but I would love to see more flat out adventure movies, or mysteries, or even dramas. But maybe that’s just me . . .

In any case, if you’re looking for a good family movie, and you’ve got Apple TV+, I heartily recommend this one. 8.5/10.


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