Athena Scalzi

Spoiler-Free Thoughts on “Wolfwalkers”

When I say, “animated movie about Celtic folklore”, what’s the first movie that comes to your mind? Can’t think of one? Well, today I’m here to tell you about one that you can add to that sparse list!

Wolfwalkers, directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart, is the newest and final addition to Moore’s “Irish Folklore Trilogy” of animated films. Though Wolfwalkers is technically connected to The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea, you can watch them all independently of each other.

Which is good news for me, considering I have only seen The Secret of Kells and it was around a decade ago that I watched it, so I don’t remember too much. The one thing that stuck with me throughout the years, was the animation style. It was so beautiful and unique. When I saw that same animation style in a movie on Netflix back in 2017, I was thrilled to see another movie by the same person, that being The Breadwinner. Another amazing movie with incredible animation and story.

Fast forward to three years later, you can imagine my surprise when I saw Apple TV+ advertising a new original movie of theirs, with that same wonderful animation. I was enthralled. Upon seeing the trailer, I knew I had to see Wolfwalkers, because if it was anything like the other two I’d seen, it was going to be beautiful, in so many different ways.

As I just mentioned, Wolfwalkers is an Apple TV+ exclusive/original, and not a lot of people have or use Apple TV+. Due to the lack of accessibility to this movie, I’ve decided to keep this post spoiler-free. That being said, I will go ahead and tell you what it is generally about, without revealing too much of what happens. So if you want to stay totally in the dark about this movie, read no further, just know that I highly recommend this movie and think you should so totally watch it.

Wolfwalkers is about a girl named Robyn that wants to be a hunter, like her father. She sneaks out of the walled city she resides in and goes out to the woods, in an attempt to find some wolves to kill. There she encounters Mebh, a Wolfwalker girl. Their worlds collide and Robyn reevaluates everything she thought about wolves, and tries to help Mebh stop the townspeople from destroying their woods.

Before this movie, I had never heard of a Wolfwalker before. If I’m honest, I don’t really know anything about Celtic folklore, so this was an entirely new thing to me. I thought they’d be like werewolves, but they’re totally their own thing, and it’s a really awesome concept.

This movie not only encapsulates the beauty of the wild and the forest, but shows the brutality and ugliness of what “civilization” can be. It reminds the viewer that cities weren’t always here, they were made through deforestation and the sacrifice of animals and the displacement of their homes.

Wolfwalkers explores independence, rebellion, friendship, trust, betrayal, habitat loss, deforestation, colonization, and more. It’s a beautiful story of self-discovery and acceptance, with intriguing characters and stunning 2D animation that makes it all look hand drawn. Sometimes there are sketchy lines, and sometimes the color goes outside the lines, but all these “imperfect” things make it so wonderful.

This is truly a perfect work of art. An absolutely astounding movie that deserves every bit of praise it has gotten. Not only does it have a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, but the audience score for it is a perfect 100%. Wolfwalkers also won Best Animated Film from several film critic associations, such as Chicago Film Critics Association, Columbus Film Critics Association, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, New Mexico Film Critics Awards, and New York Film Critics Circle Awards.

I honestly believe it deserves an Oscar. And I believe you should totally watch it! It is well worth two hours of your time. It is sad though that not more people can see it, due to it being an Apple TV+ exclusive. Ninety percent of Apple customers don’t use their free year of Apple TV+; I know I certainly wasn’t. If you’re among this ninety percent, I highly recommend that Wolfwalkers be the first thing you watch on it!

If you’ve seen this absolute gem of a movie, let me know your thoughts on it in the comments! Or if you’ve seen any of the other movies by Tomm Moore, I’d love to know how you thought they stacked up against this one. And as always, have a great day!



Oh, Hello, February

Clearly Sugar and Spice know how to greet a snowy new month.

Also, as an FYI, I have a novel-writing goal of at least three thousand words a day, every day, for February, so don’t expect huuuuuge things from me here this month. Mostly cat pictures and music recommendations, with an occasional smattering of Five Things pieces and maybe one or two full-size pieces when we get around to impeachment — but then again, maybe not! I’m also trying to watch less news this month because my head needs to be in space, not in Congress. Also, bluntly, now that we have a new president who is not a walking chaos engine, I don’t feel like I have to obsessively refresh the news. It’s nice!

Incidentally, if you’re doing the math in your head and going, hey, if you’re doing three thousand words a day every day for February, that’s kinda a whole novel, you’re correct — I’m doing a full rewrite of what I have so far. Why? Because while what I wrote previously is meh, as a piece of storytelling craft. I’ve been over a bit of why previous — but to recap: sickness, pandemic, insurrection, general inability to focus in 2020 because holy shit, look at the world — but also in a larger sense the why is immaterial. The fact is I’m not going to put out something I think is not up to snuff and be all sorry, this is my insurrection novel. You deserve better! Also, you know. I deserve better, too. So: Rewrite from the ground up.

(The good news for me is that the story doesn’t need to be redone. The story is solid, and exciting, and has aliens and lasers and explosions. Now I’m gonna make the writing keep pace with the story.)

The good news for you is that Whatever is no longer only a one-Scalzi shop: Athena is here and she’s going to writing a bunch of stuff this month. And we have Big Idea posts, etc. You won’t run out of things to read, promise.

— JS

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