Do you ever watch a movie and think ‘this really had it all?’
The animated film seamlessly weaves together magic, superstition, and tradition with a unique visual style. Check out our review below.
(Note: this review contains some spoilers! You can skip down to The Bottom Line for a spoiler-free takeaway.)
Magic and Adventure
While exploring the forest outside the city walls, Robyn accidentally stumbles across magic that will change her life. She befriends Mebh – a fabled Wolfwalker, who can transform into a wolf at night and harness a spiritual pack power to heal wounds. But Robyn is the daughter of the lead hunter, who’s been charged with ridding the forest of all wolves. As Mebh searches for her missing mother (and fellow Wolfwalker), Robyn tries to juggle her newfound friendship with the wolves and her relationship with her father and the anti-wolf townies.
Everything gets even more complicated when Mebh accidentally bites Robyn, turning her into a Wolfwalker too.
The story is a lot of fun, with Irish fable elements combining with classic small-town superstition. The level of magic feels just right – enough to be intriguing, but not so much that the plot becomes completely fantastical and ungrounded. Wolfwalkers feels like something that could really have happened.
Let’s talk about the movie’s animation, because that’s where it really shines. Whether you’ve grumpily complained about shoddy CGI or you just fondly wish for the nostalgia of hand-drawn animation… watch Wolfwalkers.
Put simply, Wolfwalkers is stunning.
From the style to the coloring, the forest looks like a beautiful painting brought to life. The earthy colors and flowing lines give the forest a welcoming feel, which contrasts with the sharp angles and gray palette of the village. When Robyn has to return to the village, you don’t just want her to stay in the forest for plot reasons. You want to see more of the forest too! It’s like the art style fills you with the desire to explore the woods yourself.
Wolfwalkers is also unique in the way it uses its visual style to show shifts in plot and perspective. When Robyn transforms into a wolf, the way she sees the world – and the way we see it through her eyes – literally changes. It shifts to a dark backdrop, with other characters and objects becoming just outlines against the darkness. Instead of a human emphasis on seeing, the wolves rely heavily on smell. So after Robyn transforms, she starts to “see” these smells instead. They appear as bright streaks of color against that dark backdrop. It’s different from what the “main” perspective of the movie looks like, but that’s why it works.
I honestly can’t remember the last time I found myself so visually engrossed in a film. Wolfwalkers works so well not just because it’s beautifully drawn – though it is – but because the creators took the extra step of making each visual element relate back to the plot, perspective, and emotion of each scene.
Wolfwalkers: The Bottom Line
Wolfwakers is a visually stunning magical adventure the whole family can enjoy. You won’t regret giving this one a watch.
Wolfwalkers is available now on Apple+.