Wolfwalkers is an amazing animated film about Robyn, the wolf hunter’s daughter, who meets Mebh, a wolfwalker, who is a girl when she is awake and a wolf when she dreams. Their meeting is a clash of worlds, and the possibility for a new future and freedom for both of them.
The animation style is just gorgeous. The forest and Mebh is full of flowing lines, art nouveau style, and Celtic designs. The town is Robyn’s world and it is full of rigid lines, a sharp art deco, soldiers are drawn square-shouldered, reminding me a little of the character design in the 90s Batman animated series. The visual theme of town is of squares, repeated in bars, chains, helmet guards. It is a visual representation of this world where everything is considered to have its place and everything must keep to that place, and how that rigid thinking creates a prison for us all.
Meanwhile Mebh’s wolf pack flows like liquid through the forest, the skeins of smells guiding them by scent, through curtains of cascading leaves, until they curl up in their yonic cave, safe as a womb, surrounded by their magical carvings, in the heart of the woods.
There is a stark dichotomy drawn, to underline the themes of domination throughout the film. This is about an English settlement imposed on the Irish countryside, about Christianity imposed on a pagan people, about civilisation imposed on nature, about male control and oppression imposed on women and girls. And about the ability for those things to slip like liquid through the rigid squares set out for them.
The soundtrack is absolutely banging, with hits like Running With The Wolves given their own spin, and a subtle, intricate score. The voice work is just great, with particular shout-out to Simon McBurney, who brings such a weasley villainhood to the Lord Protector.
Just a brilliant movie, go see.