Sean Bean => Critics' Corner => Topic started by: patch on September 13, 2020, 02:31:33 AM

Title: Wolfwalkers revieuws
Post by: patch on September 13, 2020, 02:31:33 AM
‘Wolfwalkers’ Review: What Big Eyes You’ll Have Watching Tomm Moore’s Environmental Fairy Tale
A decade ago, Tomm Moore startled the world by landing an Oscar nomination for “The Secret of Kells,” an independent animated feature that wowed those who saw it with its distinctive look (extrapolated from illuminated manuscripts) and near-phosphorescent palette (leaves so green they practically glow in the dark). At the time, outsider animation hardly stood a chance against Hollywood studios, but now, no one should be surprised if he lands another for “Wolfwalkers,” whose dazzling visual design makes “Kells” look positively prehistoric by comparison.

We might as well start with what a wolfwalker is: Instantly recognizable by their blazing round eyes and fiery red hair, these bewitching characters are neither human nor beast, but some combination of the two. They speak to wolves as if by telekinesis, protecting people from possible attack — but what they’re really doing is defending the animals, who are directly endangered by the modernizing world around them.

When wolves feature into fairy tales, they’re nearly always the source of wickedness and deceit. Just ask Little Red Riding Hood; her experience with the species wasn’t exactly a positive one. But in “Wolfwalkers,” it’s the humans who are frightening, and these special guardians — gifted with the ability to shape-shift between human and canine form — who serve as our heroes. (Moore has barely softened the appearance of the vicious wolves seen in “Kells,” with their pointed faces and saw-sharp teeth, but entirely rethought the way we see them.)

His latest, co-directed by longtime collaborator Ross Stewart, brings the last two living wolfwalkers — Moll (Maria Doyle Kennedy) and her wild-eyed daughter Mebh (rhymes with “Babe,” and voiced by Eva Whittaker) — together with the only person who might understand them, a tomboy named Robyn Goodfellowe (Honor Kneafsey) eager to join her stern-but-concerned father Bill (Sean Bean) in the hunt. The way things turn out, instead of killing wolves, Robyn becomes an important ally in their survival.

The story takes place in mid-17th-century Ireland, in and around Kilkenny (where Moore’s company, Cartoon Saloon is headquartered). The walled city is being oppressed by an Oliver Cromwell-esque Lord Protector (Simon McBurney), who has come from England to “tame” the locals — as well as the woods where Mebh and her mom live. The Lord Protector (who looks and acts an awful lot like the barrel-chested Gov. Ratcliffe in Disney’s “Pocahontas”) orders his top hunter to clear the forest of the wild dogs once and for all, and at first, Robyn is eager to help.

As a girl, she’s expected to stay at home, doing scullery duty, but she sneaks out instead. Robyn fears the worst when she comes face to face with a wolf in a clearing, although this one looks different: It’s cuter, almost cuddly, and has the same three dots high on her cheek earlier seen on Mebh. If “Wolfwalkers” feels like a Celtic twist on “How to Train Your Dragon” at first — with its disapproving father constantly forbidding his kid from engaging with creatures mankind doesn’t understand — the film goes its own way from his point forth. Once bitten by Mebh, Robyn assumes the wolfwalkers’ magic powers: a sensitivity to smell, incredibly sharp hearing and the ability to run faster than she ever imagined. Oh, and when she sleeps, Robyn actually turns into a wolf, giving her a rare opportunity to see the world through their eyes (a striking perspective Moore calls “wolf-vision”).

Now it’s up to these two girls, whose blooming friendship is one of the movie’s greatest pleasures, to rescue Moll (captured by the Lord Protector at some point off-screen) and convince Bill that perhaps he’s fighting for the wrong side. The earlier “Pocahontas” comparison is apt in that regard, as both films depict the colonizing force as cruel and insensitive to the indigenous culture they’ve come to dominate, an idea that our own Lord Protector has described as an effort “to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children” — to which I say: Indoctrinate away!

Kids need movies like this that respect their intelligence, center strong female characters and question policies of blind obedience, while making an effort to integrate the rich cultural influences of a past that’s rapidly being bulldozed out of memory. Early on, the movie shows a woodblock posting warning the townsfolk of wolves, and Moore and Stewart ingeniously use this same technique — the look and feel of early propaganda — to represent Kilkenny, a city which looks as if it was carved and printed using the same technique. Robyn, Bill and most of the humans are drawn with sharp lines, though the colors bleed from these borders, as if crudely stamped on a primitive press. By contrast, Mebh and Moll are rendered in round strokes, loosely sketched as if by pencil, the colors bright and splotchy, like watercolor. High in the mountains, near the wolves’ den, megalithic carvings glow gold as composer Bruno Coulais’ Celtic score breathes life into the rich environments. (The film was digitally rendered using a program called Toon Boom, but the underlying look is distinctly hand-tooled.)

Of the various toon heroes Moore has imagined, Mebh feels the most vivacious. From her mischievous expressions, which reveal sharp canine teeth when she smiles, to an unruly mane littered with twigs and leaves, Mebh represents so many of the characteristics Pixar was going for with Princess Merida in “Brave” — independence, determination and defiance — embodied in a far more appealing design. The relatively lo-fi “Wolfwalkers” isn’t necessarily better than that film, but its female empowerment feels less forced. In the decade since “Kells,” it’s not just the technological advances that make Moore’s latest so impressive, but the rapidly changing cultural conversations as well. He brings everything together by borrowing from timeless visual influences, leaving audiences with another stunning artwork for the ages.

‘Wolfwalkers’: Toronto Review
Cartoon Saloon’s Irish folklore trilogy ends with a film which seems destined to become an instant classic
Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart have an enviable reputation as purveyors of world class animated features. Wolfwalkers will only enhance that status. A mixture of breathtaking artistry and grand adventure, it recounts a stirring tale of friendship, family, folklore and magic set in 17th century Ireland. Set to stream on Apple TV+ after its theatrical release, it should captivate adult and child alike, along with many an awards season voter.

The final film in Moore and Stewart’s “Irish folklore trilogy” (following 2009’s The Secret Of Kells and Song Of The Sea in 2014) is a rumbustious, fast-paced and highly commercial affair full of derring do, revelations, narrow escapes and dark life or death confrontations. It is set in the walled city of Kilkenny under the brutal yoke of Oliver Cromwell’s invasion. The city has all the life and character of a Bruegel painting. Bustling streets are teeming with gap-toothed urchins, twinkly-eyed rogues and warty old-timers.

Outside the safety of the city lie woods filled with wolves that howl in the night and strike fear in the heart. Cromwell’s righteous Lord Protector (voiced by Simon McBurney) has brought wolf-hunter Bill Goodfellowe (Sean Bean) from England to slay the beasts and clear the forest for agricultural use. Goodfellowe’s thrill-seeking daughter Robyn (Honor Kneapsey) is eager to pick up a crossbow and join him on the hunt. It is entirely understandable given the ’Handmaid’s Tale’-style life of dutiful domestic drudgery marked for women young and old in the community.

Seen through Robyn’s eyes, the woods become a place of storybook enchantment. A pallette of autumnal reds and golds make the leaves pop, waterfalls tumble gently from on high, badgers and squirrels break cover into verdant clearings. It looks like somewhere you could wander in your imagination and evokes strong associations with classic Disney fairytales from Snow White to Sleeping Beauty.

Robyn’s encounter with the feisty Mebh (Eva Whittaker) changes everything. Sporting a mane of terracota coloured hair and an abundance of attitude, Mebh is a Wolfwalker; a human who can transform into a wolf and communicate with the wild beasts. Robyn gains a friend and a very different perspective on the supposedly fearsome pack of wolves. At odds with an increasingly anxious father and the dastardly Lord Protector, her perspective changes further once she realises the consequences of having been bitten.

A film that never dawdles when it can race, Wolfwalkers feels very cinematic. The directors make use of split screen, montages and sharp editing to sustain a lively pace. It almost goes without saying that it looks gorgeous, rich in depth of colour and detail. Scenes appear like woodcut prints and there is a strong emphasis on sharp lines and geometric shapes. Noses are like ski slopes, tree boughs bend into rounded archways, gleaming fangs are like mountain ranges.

The actors are smartly utilised with Eva Whittaker proving the scene-stealer as she creates a Mebh who is bossy, intrepid and full of mischief but crumbles into vulnerability as she frets over the fate of her missing, long absent mother Molly (Maria Doyle Kennedy).

A lovely, satisfying saga, Wolfwalkers has the feel of an instant classic and even the seemingly obligatory inclusion of two sweeping, spirited songs does nothing to spoil the enjoyment.

‘Wolfwalkers’: Animated Irish Myth Is A Stirring Masterwork [TIFF Review]

‘Wolfwalkers’ Film Review: Old-School Animation Invigorates Irish Eco-Fable

[TIFF2020] Walk, Don’t Run for Wolfwalkers Debut!
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..

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.

Anyone who can’t see this movie due to this film being region locked doesn’t have to worry for too long. GKIDs is handling further theatrical showings (where possible) before it lands on Apple+

Title: Re: Wolfwalkers revieuws
Post by: patch on September 15, 2020, 08:16:56 AM
 TIFF 2020 Review: Wolfwalkers 
Despite her widower father insisting that she must stay behind while he hunts wolves, Robyn is determined to follow in his footsteps with a pet falcon serving as her guide.  Venturing into the forest leads to the apprentice hunter to uncover a magical and rare breed known as wolfwalkers that are human while awake and wolves when sleeping.   A friendship develops causing Robyn to experience a spiritual transformation that puts her into direct conflict with her father and the settlers he has vowed to protect.

It is funny to have Sean Bean voicing a character wearing a big heavy coat and protecting a city surrounding by huge walls considering his previous role of Ned Stark in Game of Thrones.
Title: Re: Wolfwalkers revieuws
Post by: patch on October 10, 2020, 04:17:15 PM
2020 BFI London Film Festival Review – Wolfwalkers
But the heart of the movie is ultimately decided upon by the vocal cast, who true to form have been cannily selected and put to shrewd use. Honor Kneafsey and Eva Whittaker are fantastically sympathetic and evocative as Robyn and Mebh, while Sean Bean brings his usual down-to-Earth charm to the fore, yet also the fiery intensity required for Bill’s paternal determination.
Title: Re: Wolfwalkers revieuws
Post by: patch on November 02, 2020, 02:06:38 AM
SCAD Savannah Film Festival 'Wolfwalkers' Review: An Animated Masterpiece That's Too Good To Be True
What is it with Sean Bean and choosing characters that initially side with power because of his innate sense of duty and then realise that he has fu*ked up because working for the government that doesn’t care about human lives isn’t the right thing to do? He famously did it in Game of Thrones. He did it again in World on Fire. And he has done it again in Wolfwalkers. I am not complaining because he does it so well. He really sells it. He sells it so well that you cannot hate his character for believing in regressive values. I think the trick that he uses is that he puts a bit of awareness in his act. I don’t know how he does it but he does it and it’s great.
Title: Re: Wolfwalkers revieuws
Post by: patch on November 12, 2020, 11:51:25 AM
Of Canines, Crossbows and Colonialism- Wolfwalkers
The leads are all terrific, especially Sean Bean using his Ned Stark gravitas to ground the ensemble with his fatherly warmth.
Title: Re: Wolfwalkers revieuws
Post by: patch on November 13, 2020, 02:37:22 AM
Reserve an Oscar for Cartoon Saloon's 'Wolfwalkers'
What really makes "Wolfwalkers" Oscar material, though, is its animation. This is my first experience with Cartoon Saloon, and holy hell did the studio make a wonderful first impression on me. It's no wonder the studio has been nominated for four Academy Awards. Guess who it has lost to each year? Go on. Take a wild guess. Disney and Pixar, apparently, the only animation studios the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are aware of.

 If I had one complaint with the movie, and only one, it's the ending. I feel like the story would have been stronger, given all the terrible things Sean Bean's character had done, if he'd sacrificed his life protecting Robyn in the end. Then I wanted Mehb's mother, Moll (matriarch of the wolf pack), to adopt Robyn into the wolf pack.

"Wolfwalkers" opens tonight at Cinemark theaters in Little Rock, Benton and Conway. It'll also open at Malco theaters in places like Jonesboro, Fort Smith and Fayetteville. If you feel safe wearing a mask and heading to the theater, this is a must-see film for animation mavens like myself.

For everyone else, you can stream it at home on Apple TV+ starting Dec. 11. It's a perfectly family-friendly movie. There's no blood or cursing I can recall.
Title: Re: Wolfwalkers revieuws
Post by: patch on November 16, 2020, 10:46:24 AM
In order to protect this beautiful world, Robyn must help Mebh find her missing mother. She must also convince her father that this wondrous world exists on the outskirts of the city within touching distance, and that a peaceful solution can be found. One that can benefit both the wolves and the townsfolk. But with the tyrannical Lord Protector breathing down his neck, Goodfellowe has no time for what he sees as tall tales. As an army bears down on the wolves and their habitat, their very existence hangs in the balance.

But Wolfwalkers never strays too far from its roots in the mystical tales of yore – and with the inspired voice casting of Sean Bean there are deliberate echoes of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings here. Stories where magic can prevail against the crueller machinations of mankind. Wolfwalkers has all this majesty and then some. A truly extraordinary film, as beautiful as it is prescient.