REVIEW: ‘Wolfwalkers’ is a wonderful film with a sweet story

This movie is about the legendary Wolfwalkers, not to be confused with the Timberwolf Walkers, who mainly gather at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

This animated feature takes place in an Irish city during the 1600s and follows a young girl named Robyn (Honor Kneafsey). Robyn’s father Bill (Sean Bean), has been tasked by the city’s ruler (Simon McBurney), to eliminate the area’s wolves, which have threatened livestock and people alike.

Wanting to follow in her father’s footsteps, Robyn also wants to go out and hunt. When she attempts this, though, she comes face to face with the dangerous wolves. However, she is protected by a young girl, Mebh (Eva Whittaker), who has a connection to the wolves. It turns out that Mebh is a wolfwalker who can take the form of the wolf at night. After meeting the two become friends.

“Wolfwalkers” takes a routine route in storytelling, but it’s paced and executed so well that it doesn’t really matter. Some of the developments are predictable, yet the way they occur and what they mean to the characters does significant work in winning over the audience.

One can’t help but get lost in the fairy tale thanks to the fun and endearing characters, as well as the mystical atmosphere that the feature embraces from start to finish. These aspects make for a very charming experience that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Another strength that allows the movie to avoid stumbling over familiar story beats is its nuanced approach. The film’s main villain isn’t an exaggerated, greedy character, but rather a stoic, threatening figure driven by wanting complete control over the situation.

Courtesy AppleTV+

The same is true with its approach to environmentalism. The protagonists are in defense of the forest, but the film endorses a positive approach related to stewardship and sustainability, rather than a situation where a message is presented simplistically .

Undoubtedly, the film’s strongest aspect is the friendship between Robyn and Mebh. Their relationship is so endearing and seeing it develop as their ideals and opinions on each other, and the world, shift is compelling.

Each character is strong in their own right, and their different personalities make their clashes and connections enjoyable. Each of the two are fleshed out and three dimensional as well, making a good duo of protagonists.

Another major positive about “Wolfwalkers” is the animation. The film looks exquisite, especially the forest where much of the movie takes place. Every scene is gorgeous, and it makes for a superb visual experience.

It’s also enjoyable seeing a more unique art form, especially when it comes to the character designs. One of the visual highlights is seeing Mebh jump quickly from place to place with her wild fiery hair. It’s all great to look at.

“Wolfwalkers” is a top tier animated film and a triumph for the studio Cartoon Saloon. It’s a good guess that this will get an Oscar nomination in the weeks ahead. 4.5 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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