If you’ve missed catching this latest Cartoon Saloon work at earlier this year for one reason or another, now is the chance to see it at home. Available to stream is Tomm Moore‘s Wolfwalkers!
This beautifully rendered work sees man against beast. The wolf is feared throughout Ireland. But young Robyn sees beauty, and when she befriends a girl of the woods, Mebh, she discovers something else. The locals have a connection with the land and this lupine creature is not meant to be feared. It’s a glorious story about change and acceptance.
This humble re-release to the United States may well pave the way for a box set which will add Song of the Seas and Wolfwalkers to the mix.
By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
GKIDS & Shout! Factory
Available in the USA
Those who haven’t seen Cartoon Saloon‘s Irish mythology trilogy can now see how it all began with The Secret of Kells (2009)! One of the problems was with early home video distribution. It’s limited availability in certain markets made this film generally unavailable in other countries.
This humble re-release to the United States may well pave the way for a box set which will add Song of the Seas and Wolfwalkers to the mix. With Shout! Factory and GKIDS behind this distribution, I hope that they are listening. Hopefully, Universal Studios Home Entertainment rights for Song is soon ending or can be transferred so one distributor can offer a compendium with an art folio to celebrate all three films.
This latest film is not too different from the previous two tales–all using shape shifting as a metaphor on how it changes society. The talents at this studio have certainly one-upped themselves with this latest work.
Cartoon Saloon’s Wolfwalkers is a sweetly engaging animated tale about the winds of change not only within the Goodfellowe family but also with Ireland as a whole. No, we’re not necessarily talking about revolution, but instead in how to let the past be what it must, and see little sparrows grow.
Robyn’s (Honor Kneafsey) coming of age tale is key to this heroine’s journey into adulthood. Bill (Sean Bean) can’t bear to see her grow up. He promised (the wife is presumably deceased) to keep this wee darling daughter safe, but she’s ready to kill wolves like her father. He’s been hired by the puritanical Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell to hunt down the wolves of Kilkenny. This film is historically correct when they are considered a threat to business (mostly the loss of sheep) but there are other ways to handle a dire situation..
Sing Street is a wholesome and fun coming of age film where new student Conor Lalor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) needs to form a band so he can win the heart of Raphina (Lucy Boynton). This girl hangs out in front of a boarding home, waiting for a knight in shining armour to take her away, and who she’s dating now is hardly Lancelot.
Unlike musicals which I’ve come to adore in the past, namely Little Shop of Horrors about a nerd aspiring for success (and to win at love), and Grease about 50’s style romance, this tale explores the new wave post-punk sound which emerged mid-80’s. To explore the economic difficulties of the era, the story takes place in Dublin, Ireland.
With only a trailer to go by, this animation by the production house Cartoon Saloon, who produced Secret of Kells, will go far. It’s a guaranteed winner for its cultural aesthetic and expansion of a traditional mythic tradition about the Selkie, supernatural creatures found in Irish and Scottish folklore. They can transform from seal to human and vice versa. These beings are well-known to those living in the Orkney Islands, and their proliferation into Celtic popular culture can be found in many a piece of literature or found featured in a play.
To understand what these supernatural sea-faring folk are about means delving into what little documentation there is. In the surviving folklore, there is no agreement as to how often the selkie-folk were able to carry out the transformation. Some tales say it was once a year, usually Midsummer’s Eve, while others state it could be “every ninth night” or “every seventh stream.” (1)