Cartoon Saloon’s new film Wolfwalkers was one of the best movies at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, and the new official trailer shows off just a little of what makes the film so great.
The animation, which doesn’t shy away from a certain roughness, is stunning, as directors Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart tell a story about two young girls in 17th-century Ireland. Robyn (Honor Kneafsey) idolizes her father (Sean Bean), whose job is to hunt the wolves outside of town, and longs to be like him. When she goes into the woods and meets Mebh (Eva Whittaker), a Wolfwalker who can transform into a wolf, her life and understanding of the environment start to change.
At the 2020 New York Comic Con, director Tomm Moore explained how he and co-director Ross Stewart landed on their unique story.
Ross and I have worked together for a long time, and we were working on the concept art for Song of the Sea back in 2013, and over a lunch we discussed what would be a good movie to co-direct together that we wanted to make in this final piece in this triptych. We talked about all the things we cared about, and even if there were things we didn’t care about, like hunting, or things we were worried about, like species extinction and the threat of civilization on nature, so those were the themes we wanted to explore. Then we talked a little about the folklore from around this area in Ireland, in Kilkenny, called the “Wolves of Ossory.” And at the time there was a documentary on Irish television called Wolfland, and it talked about how Oliver Cromwell and the British tried to eliminate wolves from Ireland to symbolically tame the country. So we had all those ingredients and more, and we started mixing it up and that’s how we came up with the story.
For the spoiler-averse, however, avoiding the trailer may be wise, as it gives away one of the film’s major twists. For a less spoilery preview, here’s an excerpt from our review:
Every aspect of Wolfwalkers is thoughtfully, beautifully rendered, and the story is full of twists that keep things unpredictable until the finale. It’s one of the most impressive films of the year, and the best animated film of 2020 thus far. The film also cements Cartoon Saloon’s place amongst the great contemporary animation studios. The studio’s previous films were wondrous. (The Secret of Kells was nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.) It’s no small feat that Wolfwalkers is the studio’s best work yet.
Wolfwalkers will hit theaters on Nov. 13 courtesy of GKIDS, and become available on Apple TV Plus on Dec. 11.