After twelve years, Irish filmmaker and animator Tomm Moore’s Irish Folklore Trilogy has come to an end, concluding with the Academy Award nominated feature, Wolfwalkers. This will be Moore’s third feature to be nominated for such a prestigious award, as each of the films within the trilogy have also been nominated before. The trilogy delves into the rich cultural background of Irish mythology while tackling childhood issues that are often overlooked. His characters are not the simple minded innocent children often found in fairy tales, but enriched, well developed characters who prove themselves, not only to their peers but to the audience as well. More importantly, Moore does so in various eras, from the Viking expansion era in 9th century Ireland as seen in The Secret of the Kells (2009), to the mid-80s rising urban landscape of a Dublinesque city explored in The Song of the Sea (2014).
If you enjoy animated films with heart and culture, look no further. Starting with The Secret of the Kells (2009), Moore has restored both faith and depth into pagan folklore, despite contemporary media distorting these enriching mystical creatures into Hollywood cliches. Moore’s stories also balance the realms of magic surviving within man’s world. Wolfwalkers has our heroine, Robyn Goodfellow, a young girl in 1650 Ireland who has moved to the town of Kilkenny where her father, a renowned hunter, promises the locals to exterminate a pestering pack of wolves that have been foiling their attempts to clear the neighboring woods. Robyn, accompanied by her pet falcon, Merlyn, encounters a wolfwalker, a young girl who if asleep, can conjure an astral projected wolf form to roam the earth. Together, the two form a unique sisterly bond and struggle to find their place in a world that wants them silent.
This animated spectacle tackles themes of female independence in an engrossing manner, with stunning animation incorporating a woodblock style and heavily expressive linework to emphasize the emotional core of these astounding characters. As Robyn and her newfound friend, Mebh, remain determined to save the forest and wolves of Kilkenny, they also struggle with their own identities and the roles assigned to them by the world they live in. In addition, the soundtrack is breathtaking as Moore collaborated with Irish folk group, Kila, in order to produce an aesthetic score that follows the changing moods and themes of the film. Norwegian singer, Aurora, known for her backup vocals in Frozen 2, contributed to this score as well with a rec-recording of her single, Running with the Wolves.
All in all I grant this movie a solid A grading with full confidence that it will be enjoyed for years to come, from children to adults of all ages.