Athena Reviews “Peter and the Wolf”

Athena watched the 2006 animated version of “Peter and the Wolf,” which won the Oscar for Best Animated Short, and felt compelled to write her very first film review. Here it is. As a former professional film critic, I’m very proud.

(Also: If you’d like to see the film for yourself, here it is on Netflix).

Athena Scalzi:

Last night, I watched a short film called “Peter and the Wolf”. It is a thirty two minute Oscar-winning claymation short. Not only did it win an Oscar, but five other awards as well. This film is about a boy named Peter who lives in a small Russian village. He lives with his grandpa, he gets bullied by some townspeople, and Peter’s only friend is a duck.

This film was one of the most interesting I’ve ever watched. One of the things I found most interesting about “Peter and the Wolf” was that there was no talking throughout the entire film. It didn’t need words though. The film was fine with just facial expressions and actions to express thoughts. I’m not saying the film was silent, though. In fact, it had some of the most amazing music I’ve heard in a soundtrack.

I thought the animation was quite interesting, as well. Claymation is one of my favorite types of animation. I think claymation is just so much more captivating than any other kind of animation. The movement of the characters in the film wasn’t the smoothest, but I loved their facial expressions and how detailed everything was, especially the wolf.

Based on the title, I was expecting the story to be like “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”, but it was its own story and an original idea. It wasn’t what I was expecting, to say the least. It was funny at times, but I almost cried at one part. I would’ve never guessed how it ended.

Overall, I enjoyed this strange yet compelling film. It’s clear to see why “Peter and the Wolf” won an Oscar.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

22 replies on “Athena Reviews “Peter and the Wolf””

Nice review.

If you liked Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev wrote a lot of good music, including film scores.

Prokofiev had the bad luck to release Alexander Nevsky (about how heroic Russians throw back the evil Teutonic Knights) a few months before the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, where the USSR and Germany became buddies.

Then he wrote the music for Ivan the Terrible, about how good Germans helped Ivan the Terrible in Russia just before Operation Barbarossa.

In Stalin’s USSR, it’s a miracle he wasn’t purged. As it was, Stalin and Prokofiev died on the same day in 1953.

And thus the torch has been past and now up to Athena Scalzi to write the fiction we want as John is put out in his large pasture. Now we know why he has such a big yard.

Nice job, Athena! You didn’t belabor the plot (as many reviewers do) and you pointed out what was unique or unexpected about the film.

Also, I’ll expand upon JReynolds’ comment and say that the Romantic era Russian composers are all pretty amazing — try the Rachmaninoff 2nd piano concerto sometime. :)

Maybe I need to give the short another try. I just found it too dark as it started off–and as someone as old as your Dad, not having David Bowie narrate really threw me.

I’ve never seen this film, though I know the music well. Thank you for the good recommendation, Athena! I’ll check it out. Claymation is one of my favorite styles, too.

Personally, I like the Sting version with puppets. Tell Athena to try the Troika from the Lieutenant Kije suite next. We had a ball playing Peter and the Wolf in High School and recruited our US History teacher to do the narration.

Fun fact: Claymation® was a trademark of Vinton Studios, but it may have lapsed into the public domain. At one time, only Vinton made Claymation®, everybody else was making “clay animation”.

I want to second that Prokofiev is a musical genius. Seen Peter and the Wolf a few times when the Vancouver Symphony came to town. They played in conjunction with the showing of Disney’s animated version. Was quite something to see. I’m also a hug fan of Claymation. Nightmare Before Christmas will always be my #1 :)

On the assumption that Athena will read the comments…

(1) Everybody knows that what you write is what you think. You don’t need to qualify it. If what you write is bad (it wasn’t), saying “I think” or “in my opinion” just makes it worse. If what you write is good (it was), no qualification is needed.

(2) The comments will be full of nitwits telling you what to do. Don’t read the comments!

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