There’s a lot more going on in Mavka, The Forest Song than just be an adaptation of the poem by Lesya Ukrainka.
Shout! Studios Release Date: Aug 15, 2023
Available to order on Amazon USA
It seems opinions about the Russian invasion into the Ukraine have filtered into children’s entertainment. When it hits that hard, that’s because one side doesn’t want the fighting, and prefers that all countries get along. When the conflict in Mavka, The Forest Song rears its ugly head, just how this title character can be a protector depends on faith.
Although the commentary was most likely not Lesya Ukrainka’s intent in her original 1911 play The Forest Song, what’s modified for this animated treatment certainly makes callbacks to other similar works, like Fern Gully than anything Disney would produce.
As for saying Gulliver Returns is the perfect follow up, it is hard to say…
Just why an animated sequel to Jonathan Swift’s classic work, Gulliver’s Travels, exists really must be questioned. Just because actor turned Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky said, “I have an idea,” doesn’t mean it should be realised.
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Olias Barco’s A Magical Journey (originally titled Polinatayemnyziakinostudiyi) is a blend of several familiar young adventures. It sometimes borders on Alice in Wonderland territory such that Polina (Polina Pechenenko), an 11-year-old orphan, ventures from one fairy tale world to another. In this story’s case, it’s jumping from one film world to another to avoid being caught by the wicked witch’s minions.
Taking a slight cue from the first Harry Potter movie, she’s holed up in tiny room in her aunt’s home, a wannabe Cruella, and only has her imagination to keep her sane. She plays with little figures and one day finds momentos from her past. All she has is a torn-up photo of her biological family and a pass to the movie studio her parents once owned. This relative hates the idea she’ll take ownership one day and plans to kill her. Fortunately, she escapes and enters the wondrous world of filmmaking.