Wolfwalkers is an animated fantasy adventure directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart. The film is the third and final installment in Moore’s “Irish Folklore Trilogy”, following his previous films The Secret of Kells (2009) and Song of the Sea (2014). An international co-production led by Cartoon Saloon and Mélusine Productions. I really enjoyed Wolfwalkers, it follows a young apprentice hunter who arrives in Ireland with her father during a time of superstition and magic to wipe out the last wolf pack.
In 1650, the residents in the town of Kilkenny, Ireland are working to clear the nearby woods under orders from the authoritarian Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell (voice: Simon McBurney), putting them at odds with a wolf pack. English hunter Bill Goodfellowe (voice: Sean Bean), with his rebellious daughter Robyn Goodfellowe (voice: Honor Kneafsey), has been summoned to Kilkenny by the Lord Protector to exterminate the wolves. Wanting to help her father, Robyn secretly follows him out of town with her pet falcon, Merlyn. While exploring the forbidden lands outside the city walls, Robyn befriends a free-spirited girl, Mebh Óg MacTíre (voice: Eva Whittaker), a member of a mysterious tribe rumored to have the ability to turn into wolves by night. As they search for Mebh’s missing mother Moll MacTíre (voice: Maria Doyle Kennedy), Robyn uncovers a secret that draws her further into the enchanted world of the Wolfwalkers and risks turning into the very thing her father is relegated to eliminate.
At the beginning of Wolfwalkers, I was left confused for a while because a woodcutter Seán Óg (voice: Tommy Tiernan) was attacked and mauled by a pack of wolves that left several scars on his chest. Just as the wolf was ready to administer the final blow, a howl summoned all the wolves away. Suddenly, a mysterious woman with a young child that appeared to be merged into one with her appears and repairs his wounds. Seán Óg was able to get up and go home completely healed. Next, the film switches to Robyn and her father who appear to be having dinner at their home. Robyn is begging her father to let her go with him to work instead of staying home doing housework. Of course, Bill said no because it was too dangerous where he worked. Things began to come together for me when Mebh, who was the child who appeared to be merged with Moll, used her power to heal Robyn’s pet falcon Merlyn who she mistakenly shot with her crossbow. The story is quite interesting and intense, as the Lord Protector is hell-bent on destroying the wolves and the forest they have infiltrated. Wolfwalkers is much more than a children’s story, most adults may find it quite entertaining. In my opinion, Wolfwalkers is the stuff great storytelling is all about and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Animated Feature. On Rotten Tomatoes, 99% of 156 reviews are positive for the film, and the average rating is 8.70/10. Critics consensus on the website reads, “A mesmerizing Celtic-inspired adventure, Wolfwalkers offers an epic ethereal fantasy matched by profound philosophies and stellar voice work.” Wolfwalkers is streaming on Apple TV — Check It Out!
[WOLFWALKERS is Oscar-nominated at the 93rd Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Film — Totaling 1 Nomination]